LA PLATA, Md.—An additional gift of $500,000 in unrestricted grants to its regional food bank and local nonprofit partners in response to the rising hunger crisis throughout the Mid-Atlantic region was announced by The Wills Group. The Wills Group’s philanthropic response to COVID-19 increased to $1 million since March 2020 with this round of grants.
The family-owned Wills Group owns Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash and SMO Motor Fuels. The $500,000 in grants will be distributed across four regional food banks and three local Southern Maryland nonprofit partners. A $100,000 grant was given to Capital Area Food Bank, Feed More, Food Bank of Delaware and Maryland Food Bank each to support their mobile food distribution efforts. LifeStyles of Maryland received $50,000 to continue delivering food to people in remote communities. Southern Maryland Food Bank received $25,000 to increase its food supply and distribution and Farming 4 Hunger was granted $25,000 to expand food production through pop-up greenhouses and egg processing.
“With the help of partners like the Wills Group, we’ve been equipped to respond to the heightened demand for food in our communities, which unfortunately shows no sign of slowing. We saw a stark increase in demand for food aid as a result of the pandemic. From March to October, we distributed more than 42 million pounds of food statewide—a 96% increase from 2019,” said Carly Frank, director of development for Maryland Food Bank.
The Wills Group also released its 2020 Community Engagement Report, which provides an overview of the company’s increased support of its partners during the pandemic. Last year, the company provided $500,000 in grants to local nonprofits and its regional food banks, launched Dash In’s Lift Up program to honor healthcare professionals and first responders and hosted a mobile food bank at the company headquarters in La Plata, Md.
Lock Wills, president, CEO and chairman, Wills Group stated, “As the pandemic has continued to exacerbate food insecurity nationwide, we have kept in close contact with our regional food bank and local nonprofit partners to understand their challenges and identify the best way to support their efforts to increase food access for kids and families in our communities. We felt it was important to use our 2020 Community Engagement Report to echo the increased needs of our food bank partners and ask the public to join us in addressing the rising hunger crisis.”
Other achievements reported in the Wills Group 2020 Community Engagement Report include:
- 23 organizations supported
- 37 grants distributed
- Nearly $175,000 raised in support of the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund at the fourth annual Blackie Wills Golf Classic
- Seven food banks and pantries supported in the Mid-Atlantic region