Have you ever gone hungry? If so, you know it can be a miserable feeling. Unfortunately, there are people who suffer from hunger or homelessness every day. Luckily, as a caring community, support is given to those in need. This week’s Friday Focus recognizes The Arnold House, LLC for their commitment and passion to help those who need food, a place to stay, help getting a job and more. Hearing about one of their favorite moments, sheltering dozens of homeless during winter storm Jonas, really makes you proud to be part of this community and want to help make a difference as well. We caught up with Arline Arnold, leader of The Arnold house, LLC to learn about their organization, challenges and weekly dinners.
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
A: The Arnold House, LLC is a “boots on the ground” grassroots organization raising awareness to the plight of hunger and homelessness in Southern Maryland. We partner with citizens, commercial businesses, public and private organizations to deliver meals and other basic necessities to those in need. Our advocacy programs focus on solutions for individualized self-improvement, community engagement and identifying sustainable housing options for families and individuals needing assistance.
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
A: During winter storm Jonas we worked to house about 90 Charles County homeless at the Waldorf Motel. We were literally driving around going into the homeless camps to bring people out of the woods. The Motel also allowed us to convert their lobby into a makeshift kitchen and we were able to provide them with hot meals during their stay. None of that would have been possible without the generous support and donations from people within the community.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: In addition to our weekly Sunday meal program, we have started a soup kitchen that serves the Indian Head and Bryans Road area on Wednesday nights. Having to find sponsors to fund those efforts over the long haul is what we are facing right now. We prepare 150 meals each Sunday and about 100 meals are prepared on Wednesday. Both of these are only possible because of the donations we receive. People are very giving during the holiday’s but those in need have to eat every day.
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
A: We do our weekly Sunday dinner program where we deliver meals to those in need and to some of the homeless camps. Our BackPack program has grown to five schools. This program allows us to fill a backpack for a child to take home so they and their families can have a couple of meals to carry them through the weekend. On the May 28, we are doing a build a bag program, where we put non-perishable food, hygiene items and bottled water in a small bag that can be given out to the homeless or people on the street. We have partnered with Charles County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) to have them place a few bags in their cars so they can pass them out to those in need. This is a good way to build better relations in the community.
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
A: The true success in what we do comes from our team of volunteers and supporters. As we continue to grow we need board members; committee chairs; administrative assistants; media and marketing team members; finance and audit assistance; grant writing; delivery crew; warehouse/storage organizers; general volunteer support staff, just to name a few. Without these positions, nothing we do would be possible. With so much work to be done, we always have room for one more person to help make a difference in what we do.