Currently viewing the tag: "Thurmont Food Bank"

During the month of February, local organizations, Thurmont Grange No. 409, Rocky Ridge Progressive 4-H Club, and BSA Scout Troops 270B and 270G joined together to collect dog and cat food to be donated to the Thurmont Food Bank.

Their combined efforts resulted in 311 pounds of dry dog and cat food, 28 cans of food, as well as cat litter, dog treats, and various dog and cat toys, being donated to the Food Bank. It is important to remember that pets are also family members, and we need to do what we can to make sure they also do not go hungry.

Pictured (from left) are Pastor Sally Joyner Giffin, Thurmont Food Bank Director; and Nancy Wine, Thurmont Granger and Food Bank volunteer.

James Rada, Jr.

The interior of the Thurmont Food Bank.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

As inflation continues to drive up prices, especially for food, it is also driving families to their local food banks for help.

“It just seems like everything is going up except their paychecks,” said Josephine Willard with the Help Hotline at the Church of the Transfiguration in Blue Ridge Summit. She said their food bank is seeing more than 40 families a month.

Likewise, the Emmitsburg Food Bank is seeing more families seeking help. Before the pandemic, they would see around 50 families a month. Now, they see 75.

“They are telling me the amount of food stamps they receive is lower, and suddenly the economy is very tight,” said Phyllis Kelly with the Emmitsburg Food Bank. This makes it the highest level it has ever been.

Pastor Sally Joyner Giffin told the Thurmont Commissioners recently that the Thurmont Food Bank had helped 507 families in November 2023. She said this was a dramatic increase for the food bank.

Inflation is also affecting how much the food banks have to offer. Just as it drives food prices up for families, it also does so for food banks. The Help Hotline is entirely funded through donations from individuals, businesses, and churches.

“They are very generous,” Willard said. “It seems like they know the need before we do and help.”

Thurmont and Emmitsburg food banks get this help, but they also are able to purchase some things through the Maryland Food Bank.

The rising cost of food has meant that a lot of the new families the food banks are seeing are elderly couples who are living on fixed incomes. “They lived all their lives working and saving, only to need to go to the food bank,” Willard said.

However, younger people working at low-income jobs are feeling the same pinch.

Joyner Giffin told the commissioners that right now, Thurmont has people living in tents and in their cars. They are having to make a choice between buying food and making a rent payment, and the choice is food. By making food less of a drain on their resources, it allows people to use their money in other areas where it is needed.

Joyner Giffin told the commissioners that the food bank’s goal for those it helps is “to keep them in their homes, off the streets, healthy, and living as comfortably as possible.”

The food banks try to offer more than food. For instance, families also need things like toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and toothpaste.

“Things like shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste, you can’t buy with food stamps, so we offer it,” Kelly said.

The Thurmont Ministerium, which supports the food bank, also has an emergency housing program to get at-risk families off the street and into safe housing temporarily. Like food, the cost of hotel rooms has also limited the number of families that the ministerium can help.

If you can afford to help, please contact your local food bank to see what they need and how to make donations.

Eleven-year-old Emily Roberts of Thurmont recently decided to do a mission project at Weller United Methodist Church. 

Emily decided to make beaded bracelets and earrings and sell them to raise funds for the Thurmont Food Bank. She was able to raise $407, which was  phenomenal! Weller United Methodist Church is very proud of Emily for coming up with this concept all on her own!

Pictured are Pastor Sally Joyner-Giffin, Chairman of Thurmont Ministerium/Thurmont Food Bank, Emily Roberts, and Pastor Mark Eyler of Weller UMC.

The following individuals were recognized by the Thurmont Grange with the Grange Community Citizen Awards, both of whom generously volunteer their time to serve our community through programs that fulfill a great need: the Clothes Closet and the Thurmont Food Bank.

The first recipient of the Community Citizen Award is Sandy Moser from the Clothes Closet. Sandy was born and raised in Thurmont. She has been married to Jim Moser for 60 years. Jim and Sandy have five children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Sandy has been a member of Thurmont Grange for 60 years. She is a 7th degree member and over the years has served as Grange lecturer and all the Graces. She is also a lifelong member of Thurmont United Methodist Church where she has been a youth leader with her husband, as well as youth director. Her involvement with the church is how she found her way to the Clothes Closet.

Thurmont United Methodist Church organized the Clothes Closet over 50 years ago to serve an apparent need for families in the surrounding communities with clothes, shoes, coats, bedding, and towels. Sandy has been volunteering with the Clothes Closet for the last 15 years. She is currently the distribution chairperson. Sandy, with the help of other volunteers, inspects clothing for defects, displays and organizes clothing, and oversees the Clothes Closet during open hours. She is also available for emergency calls, such as individuals needing outfits for interviews, weddings, or funerals, or children removed from their homes and put into foster care without any of their belongings. Sandy sees that clothes are distributed to other organizations, such as the Frederick Rescue Mission, Healthy Families of Frederick, Mountain Manor, Emmitsburg Pregnancy Center, and a mission in Honduras. She sees that all donations are put to use. Even those that are not suitable for wear are given to the Rescue Mission, who sells them as rags to support their efforts or to local veterinarians to use as towels and sheets.

The Clothes Closet sponsors a Christmas Open House the first Monday in December. There is a toy shop with new and gently used toys for newborns up to teens. The Thurmont United Methodist Church also provides each family with a Walmart gift card.  Families can also pick up Christmas trees, decorations, and other holiday items at the open house.

The Clothes Closet has been church-sponsored for over 50 years. Currently, there are 6 board members and 32 volunteers. They receive approximately 150 bags of donations every week and are able to serve 60 families per month. These families come from a 12-miles radius with three to five new families each month. The Clothes Closet is open the first and fourth Monday evenings and the third Tuesday morning of each month. Sandy stated that many people come not only for clothes but also for fellowship and prayer.

The second recipient is Pastor Sally Joyner Giffin from Harriet Chapel and also director of The Thurmont Food Bank. Over the course of her life, Pastor Sally has resided in many states, from Virginia to Vermont, before finding her way to Frederick County and Harriet Chapel. She and her husband, John, have been married for 40 years. They have two children, a daughter who lives in Colorado and a son who lives in Frederick.

The Thurmont Food Bank has been assisting families since the 1970s.  It has been housed in several locations, always outgrowing the space. Eventually, the opportunity arose for the Food Bank to rent the former Town Office building. This larger space allowed room for freezers and refrigerators to be installed, which expanded the types of food that can be distributed. 

Pastor Sally has been involved with the Thurmont Food Bank for 15 years and has served as its director for the past 14 years. She oversees some 40 volunteers who unload trucks, collect donations, stock shelves, distribute food, and handle the monetary donation jars that are placed around the community. Donations come in from churches, civic organizations, businesses, the police department, the post office, the boy scouts, and individuals. The Town of Thurmont is also a huge supporter, providing regular shipments of food in large supply. In addition to food, the food bank also distributes hygiene items such as shampoo, soap, and shaving supplies; adult Depends; diapers; baby food; laundry detergent; paper products; and gas vouchers for those who have medical appointments but can’t afford gas to get there. No food donations go to waste at the Thurmont Food Bank.  Expired items are given to the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and local farmers who feed them to their animals.

The Thurmont Food Bank is supported by the Ministerium, which is comprised of faith-based organizations and churches throughout Lewistown, Thurmont, Rocky Ridge, Utica, and Sabillasville. Through the Ministerium, there is assistance available for other needs such as emergency homelessness by providing a few nights’ stay in a local motel and financial assistance for medical bills that is coordinated through Seton Center.

There are times of the year when the Thurmont Food Bank is able to provide something extra for the families they serve. The food bank coordinates the Christmas gift program by finding sponsors for children and the elderly or shut-ins who may not otherwise receive a gift at Christmas. Additionally, during the Christmas season, the Colorfest Committee donates 200 hams to the food bank. At Thanksgiving, 220 turkeys are distributed, with all the trimmings, for a Thanksgiving meal. At Easter, hams are provided to families as well.

The Thurmont Food Bank sees 200-300 families per month. That equates to between 1,000 and 1,400 people. Each month, approximately 7,000 pounds of food are distributed to these families. The Thurmont Food Bank is open every Tuesday, 5:00-7:30 p.m., and every Friday, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Pastor Sally stated that the Thurmont Food Bank is an amazing organization, made up of many donors and volunteers. One does not realize how many lives are touched, not just the families assisted by the food bank, but also the lives of those who make the food bank possible.

 Both recipients wished to acknowledge all of the other volunteers with the Clothes Closet and the Thurmont Food Bank, who assist them with all of the activities, programs, etc. and provide a better life for those less fortunate.

Pictured from left: Nancy Richardson, past chairman of Thurmont Clothes Closet; Denise Bentley, chairman of the Board of Thurmont Clothes Closet; Sandy Moser, Community Citizen Award recipient; and Niki Eyler, Thurmont Grange lecturer.

The Thurmont Food Bank will be giving out Thanksgiving turkeys and side dishes to those in need.

Distribution will be during regular food bank hours on November 11,16,18, and 23. Food Bank hours are: Tuesday, from 5:00-7:30 p.m.; Friday, from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Sign-up for the Ministerium’s Christmas Gift Program will begin in mid-November at the Thurmont Food Bank.

Children and elderly adults from households already signed up at the Food Bank are eligible.

Recently, members of the Thurmont Grange met to prepare fruit baskets for area shut-ins for the holiday season. Approximately 40 fruit baskets, containing fruit, canned items, apple butter, crossword puzzles, and other canned and packaged items, were made and distributed to various persons in the surrounding area. Many thanks to Catoctin Mountain Orchard for donating a half-bushel of apples along with the gift boxes that were used for the fruit baskets.

Grange members also adopted a needy family through the Thurmont Food Bank and purchased items the family requested for the holiday season. They also donated canned items to the Thurmont Food Bank as part of a community service project. 

In addition, the Grange will be sending a care package to Elijah Moser, grandson of Russell and Sidney Moser, who are members of the Grange. Elijah is in the service and is presently stationed in England. 

Several members were recognized for their membership in the Grange: Ethel and Alan Brauer (50 years), Sandy Moser (60 years), and Mary Kathryn “Peg” Long (70 years). Congratulations to all of these members for their Grange membership. 

We also are deeply saddened by the recent loss of Grange member, Gail T. Powell, who was a very active member in the Grange. She could always be found helping out during the Community Show dinner and also during Colorfest and other activities. Her smile and willingness to assist wherever needed will be greatly missed.

Thurmont Grange members prepare fruit baskets for area shut-ins.

The Thurmont Food Bank is grateful to the community, especially to the Town of Thurmont, for all the generosity and support of the Thurmont Food Bank.

Your help has been especially important this year due to the pandemic; loss of jobs, income, and housing; and because children are not receiving food at school. Each month, the food bank has given out 200-320 shopping carts full of much-needed food, including milk, eggs, meats, produce, bread, and canned and boxed goods. You have helped to feed people from Thurmont, Sabillasville, Cascade, Lewistown, Deerfield, Rocky Ridge, Mountaindale, Utica, Creagerstown, Graceham, Foxville, and the surrounding areas.

The Food Bank is a labor of love, sponsored by The Thurmont Ministerium’s member churches and supported by community groups, individuals, and the Town of Thurmont. 

If you know someone who needs food, please tell them to come to the Thurmont Food Bank, located at 10 Frederick Road, on Tuesdays (5:00-7:30 p.m.) and Fridays (4:00-6:00 p.m.). Please do not arrive more than half an hour before they are open, and enter using the driveway across from the Post Office.

Christmas hams or turkeys will be given out starting on December 8. The food bank will be closed on December 25 and January 1.

Pack 270, Troop 270B, Troop 270G, and Crew 270 proudly announce their Scouting for Food on November 7, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please leave a labeled bag at the curb (curbside pickup only available within Thurmont town limits). You can also drop off your donation at Thurmont Weis Markets Commuter Lot (next to McDonald’s) or the Scout House on Elm Street.

For more information, please email

Pictured from left are Lions Susan Smith, Susan Favorite, Dianne McLean, Doug Favorite, Joyce Anthony, and Don Keeney, Jr.

Since the Thurmont Lions Club had to cancel its pit sandwich sales for the months of April and May, the club felt it needed to give back to the community to help during the pandemic. They decided to make pork BBQ and donate it to the Thurmont Food Bank, as well as to the Frederick Health Hospital (FHH), to provide tasty meals for the frontline staff. The club received more than $2,000 in donations to support the club’s “giving-back” project. The club made more than 800 pounds of pork BBQ. Many thanks go out to those who donated to this cause and to those members who helped to prepare, package, and deliver the pork BBQ.

The pork BBQ the club made for the FHH COVID-19 testing center tent was delivered to the nurses who work at the tent. The meat was heated, made into sandwiches (rolls were also donated), and distributed to the 60 nurses who work there on a daily basis.

The Thurmont Lions Club received a wonderful note from the hospital from Ms. Sipes (below). Lion Don Keeney stated, “This gives true meaning to ‘We Serve’ and makes me very proud to be a member of the Thurmont Lions Club.”

Hi, there! I want to thank you so much for everything you are doing.  Doctors and nurses and frontline people aren’t the only heroes …the effect this has on us mentally, seeing families watch their loved ones die from afar, not being able to kiss them goodbye or even see them, the grueling hours our bodies deal with, physically….people like you, supporting us, taking that extra load off, being our backbone when we weaken, are the unseen heroes…we honestly couldn’t do it without the support from wonderful caring people like you all! Heroes are for sure a team effort…thank you for keeping us going.  It is truly appreciated and loved.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  We love you!   ~Theresa Sipes

The Thurmont Lions Club is a group of community-minded men and women who come together to enjoy each other’s company, hear interesting programs, and raise funds for important local or vision-related activities. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Mountain Gate Restaurant.

For more information, visit or call 240-288-8748.

Ai (Sam) Fing, Owner of Simply Asia, wanted to give back to the community that welcomed him over eight years ago. His idea was to run a lunch special for $10.00 an entree and to provide all of the profits to the Thurmont Food Bank.

With the help of two of Thurmont’s biggest supporters, Carol Robertson of Catoctin Colorfest, Inc. and Karen Simundson of Senior Benefit Services, Inc., all 120 tickets for the restaurant’s fundraiser were quickly sold.

Simply Asia also found support through fellow Thurmont businesses, including 1st Look Properties, who printed all of the fundraiser’s tickets.

After seeing such an incredible response, Sam decided to donate the entire amount—100 percent of the sales—as a nod to the community that supported his restaurant through the coronavirus crisis.

A big round of applause for all who purchased tickets for this fundraiser to benefit the Thurmont Food Bank! Thanks to Sam for his generosity and to Karen Simundson and Barb Plovok from Senior Benefits, Carol Robertson from Catoctin Colorfest, and Sandi Jo Reed-Burns of 1st Look Properties for coming together to make this a great fundraiser.

Pictured are Ai (Sam) Fing, Carol Robertson, and Karen Simundson

The Thurmont Lions Club announced Don Ely as Thurmont Volunteer of the Year during a November meeting of the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners. Ely is a member of Thurmont Lion’s Club and received the award because of all his work with the Thurmont Food Bank.

Thurmont Lions Club names Don Ely (second from left) Thurmont Volunteer of the Year.

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

by Theresa Dardanell

Fellowship Sunday…a truly unique experience.  On the first Sunday of each month, the members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church attend a service that combines worship and hospitality. One long table in the Fellowship Hall is lined with pastries, donuts, fruit, coffee, and other breakfast treats; members sit at round tables throughout the room and are invited to enjoy breakfast before and after the service. Worship begins with announcements and a prayer; “Sharing of the Peace” gives everyone a chance to walk around the room and greet one another; the service continues with hymns, prayers, scripture reading, a conversation about the scripture by Pastor Matthew Beers, and communion. Since breakfast continues after the service ends, nobody is in a hurry to leave.

A more formal traditional service is held on the last Sunday of every month in the church. Sunday services on the weeks between Fellowship Sunday and Traditional Service Sunday are also held in the church. Pastor Matt wants St. John’s to be a place where people can encounter God and find answers to the questions: “Why am I here, why do I do what I do, why do I live the way I live?”And they leave St. John’s knowing that “God loves me and cares about me so that I can go about caring about others and loving others.”

St. John’s history actually began in 1760 at Apple’s Church in Thurmont, when the Lutheran and Reformed congregations shared the building. In 1858, the Lutheran congregation built a new church and moved to the current location on Church Street in Thurmont (known at that time as Mechanicstown).  Over the years, the Mechanicstown Lutheran Church was remodeled and modernized extensively and also expanded to include an educational wing. In 1958, the name of the church was changed to St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. 

As a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), members support various charitable causes. They participate in the ELCA Good Gifts Program, which supplies communities overseas with items like pigs, goats, seeds, and farming equipment to help lift people out of poverty with sustainable living. They work with the Thurmont Ministerium to help meet local community needs, collect canned goods for the Thurmont Food Bank, and make an annual Thanksgiving donation to the Seton Center in Emmitsburg. Pastor Matt said that although the congregation is small, they “try to make a meaningful impact with the funds that we have.” 

Proceeds from annual fundraising events help to support the church. If you find yourself at the Thurmont Plaza Shopping Center (between CVS and Dollar General) on the day before Easter, you will find delicious baked goods and lovely potted flowers for sale by the fundraising committee. Look for hidden treasures during their Colorfest yard sale at the church. In the fall, watch for the banner in front of the church advertising the “Party of Parties” that is held in October. Attendees enjoy a buffet lunch, while home party consultants demonstrate their products.

St. John’s Christian Preschool classes are held in the school rooms in the church building. Classes are open to everyone and are all inclusive. Classes for two-year-olds are held Monday and Friday mornings. Three- and four-year-old children attend classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings or afternoons.  The website describes the school’s mission as “providing a program developed and centered around God’s love of children. Our belief is that the total person must grow physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually in order to experience life to the fullest.” Classes for two- and three-year-old students have three teachers; classes for the four-year-olds have two teachers. Tammy Tigler, who is the administrative assistant and one of the teachers, said, “Every child is unique. We strive to meet their needs. We love our jobs; we love our kids.” Registration for the 2019-2020 school year is open now. Call the preschool at 301-271-4109 for more information or to schedule a visit.

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 15 N. Church Street in Thurmont. Sunday services begin at 9:00 a.m., and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, visit the website at

Pastor Matthew Beers (front row, on right) and members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

St. John’s Lutheran Church of Creagerstown

by Theresa Dardanell

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is on the left and the Union Church is on the right.

If your summer plans include visiting locations on the National Register of Historic Places, make sure you add St. John’s Church at Creagerstown Historic District to your list. The complex consists of three buildings, all owned by the church. The Union Church building (originally called the Reformed Church) was built jointly in 1834 and shared by the Reformed Church and the Lutherans until 1908. A new church, St. John’s Lutheran, was built and dedicated in 1909. A third building, the Parish House, was built in 1880, originally used as a two-room schoolhouse and purchased by the Lutheran Church in 1926. The adjacent community cemetery is also included in the historic district.

After the new church was built, the Union Church building fell into disrepair and was used only for storage. However, it is now in the process of being restored with help from the Maryland Historical Society. Completed renovations include a new roof and floor, the addition of heating and air-conditioning, and repairs to the basement. The beautiful chandelier and pews from the Union Church were moved to the Lutheran Church. Although the renovations to the Union Church building are not complete, services are held there, as well as in the new church. The Parish House is used for dinners and other community events.

St. John’s is the oldest Lutheran congregation in Western Maryland.  Although it was established in 1732, members worshiped in various locations until they moved into their current buildings. They are proud of their continuous tradition of spirituality, community service, and God’s fellowship. Pastor Wayne Blaser said that members of the congregation care for one another and look out for one another. The small congregation generously supports local and worldwide organizations. Local outreach includes donations to the Thurmont Ministerium, Thurmont Food Bank, Clothes Closet Ministry in Thurmont, and the Religious Coalition in Frederick. They also participate in the summer enrichment camp for students. Global support is provided to Operation Christmas Child, which provides shoe boxes full of supplies for children around the world. Money donated during special collections is sent to areas affected by natural disasters; recent donations were sent to Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. One of the Lutheran Church Mission programs is the “noisy change” offering once a year. Members drop their loose change in a bucket (along with a check for an additional donation) that is taken to the Synod meeting in June, where it is used for the Lutheran Hunger Program.

Everyone is invited to attend the fundraising dinners, which are held throughout the year. The February dinner, held from 12:00-5:00 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month, features turkey and fried oysters. On the Saturday before Mother’s Day in May, a dinner of fried chicken and country ham, along with chicken and ham slippery pot pies, is served from 12:00-5:00 p.m. Proceeds from the May dinner support the operation of the community cemetery and local street lighting. The menu for the June dinner varies from year to year; this year, it featured fried chicken and pork BBQ. Funds raised at this event help families who face financial hardship due to a major health crises. It is usually held on the second Saturday in June. Plan to spend some time from noon to 5:00 p.m. on the Saturday of Colorfest weekend at the October “Cafe,” where you can enjoy a variety of sandwiches, side dishes, and desserts. The Thanksgiving Day dinner, served from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., is a 125-year-old tradition in Creagerstown. At the Christmas Bazaar on the first Saturday in December, food and baked goods are available, along with the indoor yard sale from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. The dedicated members of the “Faithful Workers” group organize and conduct these events for the benefit of the church and community.

Special musical events are held at various times throughout the year at the church, and are open to the community; a free-will offering is gratefully accepted. The “Day Star” Southern Gospel group will be performing on October 7, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. The Blue Grass Chapel Band will be performing on November 11, 2018, at 6:30 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend the weekly 9:30 a.m. Sunday service, which includes the exchange of peace among those in attendance, prayers and readings, the message given by Pastor Wayne, and holy communion. An enthusiastic choir and an organist lead the congregation in musical worship.

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 8619 Blacks Mill Road in Creagerstown.

For more information see the church’s website at ​

Pastor Wayne Blaser (on right) and members of St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Mayor John Kinnaird

We are fast approaching the end of the year, and each year seems to pass quicker than the one before. I know that this year has been good to me, and I hope it was good for you as well. With Christmas just a few weeks away, Karen and I want to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Christmas in Thurmont is coming up on Saturday, December 2. Be sure to stop downtown and register the kids for the many gifts and prizes. Santa will be at Mechanicstown Square Park to meet with all the children, parents, friends, and pets. The day will include free photos with Santa, horse drawn wagon rides, a story with Santa at the Regional Library, and fun and prizes for everyone.

This time of year brings with it colder weather, employment slowdowns, and all the seasonal difficulties many of our neighbors face. Please keep the less fortunate of our community in mind this winter by helping support the Thurmont Food Bank, Thurmont Clothes Closet, Seton Center, and other local charity organizations. Your donation of food, clothes, or cash can help bring joy to a local family.

I want to thank Catoctin Colorfest Inc. for the generous donations they made to our community this year. Their donations totaled $20,676.80 and included $1,500.00 each to the Guardian Hose Company, Thurmont Community Ambulance Company, and the Thurmont Police Department. Catoctin FFA received $1,146, and $4,500 to Catoctin High School Scholarships. The Thurmont Food Bank received $3,400. Other beneficiaries include $1,000 to the Trolley Mural Project, $5,000 for improvements in Community Park, $325 to the Library, and $200 for flowers and decorations in our parks.

You might have noticed that the sidewalk project on Moser Road is nearing completion. This project will improve pedestrian safety on the road and allow easy access to the Regional Library. Improvements to the Frederick Road intersection will help turns onto Moser and the narrowing will help control speeds. This project is a joint effort of the Town of Thurmont and Frederick County.

The recent Town election has returned Commissioners Hooper and Burns to office and yours truly to the office of mayor. I appreciate the opportunity to serve our community for another term, and I look forward to working with our residents, town staff, and the commissioners, as we work together to make Thurmont a great community.

Please contact me at 301-606-9458 or with any comments, questions or suggestions.

The Graceham Moravian Church recently marked five years of serving a free “First Monday” community meal through its Served with Grace ministry. The congregation began offering the monthly meal in October 2012. Different groups in the congregation prepare and serve the meal on a rotating basis, supported by a number of people who help out every month. Groups that have assisted include Graceham’s Joint Board members, Sunday School classes, teachers and the Christian Education Committee, Women’s Fellowship, the Youth Mission Team, Bells of Grace Handbell and the Hosanna voice choirs. Others from the community that have assisted include members of the Catoctin Area Civitan Club and Trinity United Church of Christ.

The average number of meals served per month over the past three years has been 95; and to date in 2017, the average has been 107. Each month, a main course is served, with one or more side dishes, a salad bar, and a variety of desserts. The church maintains a garden that supplies much of the produce used for the meal. Some of the favorites are chili, pasta with meat sauce, bread pudding, and pickled beets, made with a recipe of Graceham’s Director of Christian Education Joanne Fuss, who also coordinates the meal. Once a year, the meal is catered and fried chicken is served, using donations received. Donations for the meal are appreciated but not required or expected.

Members of the community, the congregation, extended family and friends, are among each meal’s guests. “We begin each meal with prayers of thanksgiving and intercession for those who are sick or in need, and we always give thanks for the community that has been formed around the tables at the Served with Grace meals,” said the Rev. Sue Koenig, pastor of the Graceham congregation. “It is a great blessing to us to be able to offer the meal and to see how God works to bring us together. People have come to know and care for one another. They ask about those who are not present, and they welcome those who come for the first time.”

A monthly newsletter, Between Meals, is prepared for the Served with Grace community, which includes highlights of church activities and contact information for local ministries, such as the Thurmont Food Bank, the Thurmont Ministerium’s special services, the Catoctin Community Medical Fund, the Thurmont Clothes Closet, the Seton Center, and the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs. The free First Monday Served with Grace community meals are open to all. The December meal will be served on December 4, 2017, from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

As night fell in Thurmont on October 28, 2017, the gates to Community Park creaked open, and ghouls, ghosts, and monsters swarmed inside for the annual Halloween in the Park event.

Ashley Wivell of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, has come to the event with her children for four years. “It’s different,” she said. “The younger kids were scared at first, but now they enjoy it.”

The night’s activities included magic shows, face painting, and a Halloween egg hunt. A non-scary children’s area featured games and activities, such as Ring-a-Monster, Apple Dip, and Candy Corn Ball Toss. Plenty of food and drink was available, all for the cost of admission ($3.00 and a canned food item for the Thurmont Food Bank).

“We collected a couple truckloads of food last year and were able to make a $1,000 donation to the food bank after expenses,” said Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper, who chairs the town’s special events committee, which has been putting on Halloween in the Park for years.

The event started around twenty years ago, far different from the elaborate production that it is now. “It started way back as pumpkin carving and storytelling,” Hooper said.

It continues to grow every year. The most popular events are the Haunted Hayride, Haunted House, and Little Shop of Horrors. Attendees are more than willing to wait in long lines for a chance to be scared.

“It’s different every year, but I love how they keep some of the same stuff,” said ten-year-old Star Wivell.

All of the events are put together and run by approximately one hundred volunteers.

Nikolene Cole and her daughter, Annika Cordier, were in town from Mechanicsburg. They were wondering what they would do while Annika’s father was getting a tattoo, when they saw a flyer advertising Halloween in the Park. They put together a costume for Annika with items from the Dollar Store and headed out for fun.

“It’s a great event for kids,” Cole said. “We really like the Halloween Egg Hunt.”

Hundreds of attendees were in agreement. They came decked out in costumes to enjoy a fun evening in Thurmont.

Just two of the dozens of awesome customes seen at Thurmont’s Annual Halloween in the Park on October 28, 2017.

Proceeds from the sale of this year’s Grand Champion Junior and Youth Department Champion Cakes at the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show generated funds that were combined with the Show’s Silver Offering donations and donated to the Emmitsburg Food Bank and the Thurmont Food Bank. A total of $525.00 was presented to volunteers at each location.


Thurmont Food Bank volunteer, Harold Bollinger, is shown with Community Show volunteers, Sue Keilholtz, Margaret Black, and Rodman Myers.


Emmitsburg Food Bank volunteers, Mary Price and Phyllis Kelly, are shown with Community Show volunteer, Denise Valentine

Emmitsburg’s Doughboy Stands Tall After Repair

Emmitsburg residents stood aside, eager to see the the “Doughboy” statue placed upon a new pedestal where it once stood before being knocked over by a truck in front of the Emmit House on West Main Street. George and Sons and Gilland Memorial Works joined together to hoist the bronze figure in place. The Doughboy monument helps us remember the service and sacrifice of local soldiers who served in World War I.

Emmitsburg Resident and WWII Veteran, Tom Hoke, joined others from Emmitsburg to watch the re-installation of the Doughboy monument on March 16, 2015.










Photo by Grace Eyler

Thurmont Food Bank Fundraiser

During the fundraiser for the Thurmont Food Bank in March, Senior Benefit Services and Firehouse DJ’s raised $500 for the cause. The Ladies Auxiliary AMVETS Post 7 donated $500 as well. Many food items were collected. Pastor Sally Joyner-Giffin, coordinator for the Food Bank, thanked everyone very much for the generous donations.

Karen of Senior Benefit Services said, “We understand the importance of supporting the community, and what better way than contributing to the Food Bank!”

Thanks to everyone who joined in the festivities and contributed so generously.









Pictured from left are Phyliss Nizer, Barb Plovock, Shawn Graff, Paster Sally Joyner-Giffin, and Karen Simundson.

Photo by Grace Eyler

Local Frederick Animal Welfare Group Offers Free Spay/Neuter and Rabies Vaccines

Through a grant from the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), Tip Me Frederick (TMF), a local animal welfare group, offers residents in Thurmont and other areas of northern Frederick County assistance in humanely managing the area’s community cats by offering them access to free spay/neuter and rabies vaccination services. TMF has conducted four free spay/neuter and rabies vaccination clinics to date and is taking reservations for upcoming clinics throughout the rest of 2016.

For more information or to reserve a spot at the next free clinic, please visit, email, or call 301-845-1061.

Three local charities—Thurmont Lions Club, Thurmont Food Bank, and Trinity United Methodist Church (TUMC) Community Clothes Closet Ministry—are joining forces to sponsor a food and clothing drive, in recognition of Make a Difference Day, on Saturday, October 24, 2015. Make a Difference Day is the nation’s largest day of volunteering. The annual event is an initiative of USA TODAY, in collaboration with Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. Millions of volunteers around the world participate in local projects and events on Make a Difference Day (the fourth Saturday in October). The Thurmont Lions Clubs and other local organizations have sponsored a variety of projects during past years, and are participating again this year by organizing a local food and clothing drive.

The Thurmont Lions Club has been serving the local community since 1929, and sponsors a variety of fundraising events and service projects to help individuals and organizations in the local area. The Thurmont Food Bank, located at 10 Frederick Road, supports many local families in northern Frederick County by distributing donated groceries. The TUMC Clothes Closet Ministry, located on the property of the Thurmont United Methodist Church on Long Road, is open several times each month to help Thurmont-area families.

The Thurmont Food Bank served 338 households, made up of 1,431 individuals, in the month of August. Their need is up and their donations are down. They need your help.

Food that they need includes milk, eggs, margarine, tuna, canned green beans, canned corn, canned fruit, peanut butter, pork and beans, and soup.

Non-perishable foods can be dropped off in the entryway at the Thurmont Food Bank, located at 10 Frederick Road in Thurmont, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday.

Donations may be mailed to: The Thurmont Food Bank, P.O. Box 74, Thurmont, MD 21788.


Did you know that more than thirty million Americans, including six million children, go hungry at some time every month? That today, there are more hungry people in our country than at any time during the past forty years? Emergency food providers across Maryland report an increased demand for services over the last three years, increasing their distribution from five percent to forty percent a year since 2000.

The National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America proudly provides continuing support to the National Scouting for Food Good Turn. This program embodies one the highest ideals of scouting—service to the community—by meeting the local needs of the hungry through the practical application of the “Daily Good Turn.”

This year’s Scouting for Food Program is just around the corner. Local Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing Crew members will be all over town placing bags on neighborhood doors on November 7. On November 14, the scouts will be back out collecting the bags, full of donated non-perishable items, and then delivering them to local food banks. Your locally donated food items stay in your community; scouts in Thurmont will deliver the collected food to the Thurmont Food Bank to help our community.

Food banks all over the country rely on this annual food drive to stock their shelves for the upcoming holiday months, when food demands are the greatest. You can help by filling up the bag you find on your door on November 7, and then placing it outside your front door on November 14. The scouts will do the rest for you. Thanks in advance for helping out the Scout’s Good Turn Program and helping your community.

Not sure what you should donate? According to our friends at local food banks, some of the most highly needed items are: canned protein (tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter); soups and stews (beef stew, chili, meat-based soups); 100% fruit juices (all sizes); grains (pasta, whole grain pasta, rice, brown rice, boxed macaroni and cheese); cereals (multi-grain, low sugar cereals, oatmeal); canned vegetables; canned fruits; condiments; and hygiene products (diapers, toilet paper, tissues, soap, toothpaste).

Planning Fireworks Show for Next Year’s Heritage Day Event

On the heels of a successful Emmitsburg Heritage Day event by the Emmitsburg Lions Club, and kudos for pulling off a fun and complete event a day later than planned due to heavy rain, planning is actually underway for next year’s event.

In cooperation with the Emmitsburg Lions Club, the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA) raises funds for the annual fireworks show that caps off the Heritage Day event and celebrates our nation’s independence. EBPA is now gathering funds for a down payment on next year’s show. Please consider contributing. Your donation is tax deductible. Send to: EBPA, Fireworks Show, P.O. Box 633, Emmitsburg, MD 21727.

Thurmont Food Bank in Need of Donations

The Thurmont Food Bank is low on food and their funds are dwindling. About 310 households receive food each month, but some families may go hungry unless they get donations to purchase food.

If you are able, please help out by sending checks to The Thurmont Food Bank at P.O. Box 74, Thurmont, MD 21788, or you can place donations in the mail slot in the entry way to the Thurmont Food Bank, which is located at 10 Frederick Road in Thurmont.

Food donations such as garden produce, canned fruit and vegetables, soups, tuna, milk, and eggs are also greatly appreciated. Between the hours of 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday, donations can be dropped off inside the food bank, and non-perishable food can always be placed in the shopping cart in the entryway.

Mackenzie’s Light Meets at Thurmont Regional Library

Mackenzie’s Light, a bereavement and drug awareness support group, meets the last Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Thurmont Regional Library, located on Moser Road in Thurmont. Anyone impacted by family drug abuse or the loss of a loved one is welcome. The next meeting is Monday, August 31, 2015, with the theme “Breaking through the sorrow for a brighter tomorrow.” For more information, call Becky at 301-524-8064 or go to Facebook.

Rocky Ridge Carnival

During the week of Monday, August 10 through Saturday, August 15, you won’t want to miss the Rocky Ridge Carnival, held at Mt. Tabor Park on Motter Station Road in Rocky Ridge. Live entertainment each night, starting at 7:00 p.m.

Guardian Hose Company Thanks Sponsors for Another Successful Event

The Thurmont Guardian Hose Company extends sincere appreciation to all of their sponsors who assist in making their annual carnival a huge success, which allows their department to remain volunteer.

Lewistown Fire Department’s Sportsmans Bingo

Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department’s Sportsman’s Bingo will be held on Saturday, August 22, 2015. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m.; buffet meal will start at 6:00 p.m.; and games will begin at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $40.00 per person (includes dinner, ice tea, and beer). Advanced ticket sales only.

Back to School Party at Christ’s Community Church

Come out for Christ’s Community Church’s Back to School Party on Friday, August 14 at the Emmitsburg Community Park, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. There will be free school supplies for kids, plus food, games, and a moon bounce.

Local Business Owners to Support Thurmont/Emmitsburg Area Students in Need of Book Bags

Local business owners would like to support Thurmont/Emmitsburg Area students in need of book bags and school supplies. Please nominate a family/student by August 8, 2015 (need children’s grades). The book bags will be distributed mid-August.

Please do not be shy to ask; they really want to help the students to start the school year off right and reduce stress for parents!

They will do their best to support all of the nominations with a minimum of twenty students. Gospel & Blue Grass Music Festival

On Saturday, September 26, 2015, a Gospel & Blue Grass Music Festival will be held at Mt. Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge, from 1:00-6:00 p.m. Admission is free, but they welcome donations. The festival features local talents and blue grass music by the Carroll County Ramblers and Hanover Express.

Mt. Tabor Park’s Annual Big Picnic

Don’t miss the annual Big Picnic at Mt. Tabor Park, located at 13544 Motters Station Road in Rocky Ridge on Saturday, August 8, 2015, from 11:00 a.m.-9 p.m. Event features a car show, a baby show, live music, great food, hayrides, and more!

The Ott House Pub Entertainment Events

The Ott House Pub in Emmitsburg will feature the following entertainment in August: J-Jam on August 1; Karma Sharkz on August 7 and 8; TBA on August 14, 15 and 21; Drone Pilots on August 22; and Redline on August 28 and 29.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Events

The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association in Fairfield is hosting many upcoming events, including a Cash Bingo on August 2, with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. and bingo beginning at 1:00 p.m.; a Horseshoe Tournament on August 8 at 11:30 a.m.; a Mid Atlantic Qualifier Shoot; and a Wagner Shoot on September 11; and much more. Hall, barn, and pavilion rentals available.

by James Rada, Jr.


May 2015

Emmitsburg 2016 Budget will be Mostly Unchanged

The Emmitsburg town accountant Cole Tabler told the Emmitsburg mayor and commissioners that the fiscal year 2016 budget “is really only slightly different from this year.”

The difference, he said, comes primarily from a reduction in some state funding. The general fund for the current year was $1,702,792, and the projected general fund budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, is $1,627,709. The commissioners are reviewing the budget and can still make changes before they approve it.

Free Pool Time

The commissioners approved allowing free access to the Emmitsburg pool on Heritage Day, June 27. In addition, the commissioners are working on a plan that will give a free one-day pool pass to students at Emmitsburg Elementary and Mother Seton School who sign a pledge to wear a helmet while riding a scooter, bicycle, or skateboard. The town will also be hosting community pool parties on July 10, July 24, and August 7.

Emmitsburg is Solar Powered

As of May 13, 2015, the Emmitsburg Twitter feed announced that the Emmitsburg Town Government is 94 percent reliant on renewable solar energy. The town has also started work on the $2.2 million dollar Phase II of its solar project.

On a related note, with the town’s switch to LED lights in the street lights, there has been a 40 percent decrease in energy costs for the lights.

For more information about the Town of Emmitsburg, log onto or call 301-600-6300.


May 2015

Thurmont Needs Ideas for Christmas Decorations

It may seem early to be thinking about it, but with the new streetlights that have been installed in downtown Thurmont, the town is going to have to purchase new Christmas decorations to fit them. During a recent meeting, Commissioner Wes Hamrick said the town could use ideas for what the new decorations should be.

Working on the Budget

The Thurmont mayor and commissioners have been working on how to best allocate next fiscal year’s revenues to create a town budget. The town is expecting roughly $3.5 million in revenue in the general operating fund. This does not include enterprise fund revenues (water and sewer, electric). Revenue to those funds are treated separately, because they must be used within the funds. The new budget, once approved by the commissioners, will take effect on July 1, 2015.

Business Expo Donates to Thurmont Food Bank

Heather Dewees and Rob Renner gave the final report on the 11th Annual Thurmont Business Expo, held at Catoctin High School on April 2, 2015. Dewees and Renner decided to continue the event after Thurmont Main Street—the usual organizers of the event—had decided not to hold the expo this year and cancelled it.

Renner told the commissioners that forty-two businesses and ten non-profit organizations participated in the event.

“Even holding it on Thursday, we felt we had a pretty good turnout,” said Renner.

After expenses, the Thurmont Business Expo was able to donate $1,145 to the Thurmont Food Bank. Pastor Sally Joyner Giffin accepted the check on behalf of the food bank.

“Thank you to all of the businesses,” she said.

View the Town of Thurmont’s website at or call the town office at 301-271-7313 for more information.

20150307_100136James Rada, Jr.

The Thurmont Food Bank did what it does best at the grand opening of its new home on March 7…it fed people.

Food trays of hot and cold foods were spread throughout the Thurmont’s former Town Office, as dozens of people crowded the building to see how it had changed now that it is home to the Thurmont Food Bank.

The biggest change is in the office area that once held the cubicles of Thurmont Town staff. The room is now lined with freezers, refrigerators, and deep shelves. Pastor Sally Joyner-Giffin, who manages the food bank for the Thurmont Ministerium, estimated that there is now about fifty percent more storage space.

“The nice thing with having more freezer space is that I can buy ahead when things go on sale, say turkeys, or when it’s hunting season and there’s deer meat offered,” said Joyner-Giffin.

The new freezers were purchased with a grant that former Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee helped the food bank staff obtain.

The Thurmont Food Bank is currently serving about 310 families, comprised of about 1,200 people, in the Thurmont area.

“This new location gives us the ability to serve more, should we have to,” Joyner-Giffin said.

As the ribbon was cut, officially opening the new food bank, Joyner-Giffin gave Mayor John Kinnaird a dollar bill, representing the food bank’s first year’s rent to the Town of Thurmont. Carol Robertson, President of Colorfest, Inc., also gave Joyner-Giffin a check for $500 to help pay the utilities on the building for a couple months.

Many of the people attending the grand opening were volunteers who help fill the orders and serve the food bank clients. Joe Bailey has been helping out at the Thurmont Food Bank for four years.

“I’m passing it forward,” Bailey said. “I want to give back to the people in the community, because helping others is what God tells us we should be doing.”

St. John’s Lutheran Church had been the previous home for the food bank, but after several years there, it outgrew the space. The new location for the Thurmont Food Bank is at 10 Frederick Road. Although the Thurmont Public Works Department still uses the back offices in the building, all of the front offices, including the commissioners’ former meeting room, is part of the food bank.

Hours at the new location are now: Tuesday, 5:00-7:30 p.m.; and Friday, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Donations of non-perishable food items can be dropped off any time; please place them in the shopping cart in the entryway of the food bank. Both perishable and non-perishable foods can be delivered during food bank hours or on Tuesday mornings from 11:00 a.m.-noon. Please check to be sure all items are not spoiled or expired before donating them.

The food bank is always looking for volunteers to help out. If you would like to help, you can call the food bank at 240-288-1865 or visit

The Thurmont Food Bank will be moving to 10 Frederick Street in Thurmont, across the street from the town park, in the building where the town offices used to be. The move will take place sometime in mid-to-late February, so watch for signs posted in front of the building. Everyone is invited to a grand opening celebration that will be held on March 7, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., with a snow date of March 14.  There will be refreshments, tours, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Please come and bring a food donation to place on the new shelves.

After the move, Thurmont Food Bank hours will be changing. The new hours will be Tuesday, from 5:00-7:30 p.m.; and Friday, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Donations of non-perishable food can be dropped off any time; please place them in the shopping cart in the entryway of the food bank. Both perishable and non-perishable foods can be delivered during food bank hours or on Tuesday mornings from 11:00 a.m.-noon. Please check to be sure all items are not spoiled or expired before donating them.

The Thurmont Ministerium—the organization that runs the Thurmont Food Bank—would like to thank St. John’s Lutheran Church for their generous hospitality in allowing the Food Bank to use their chapel and fellowship hall for the last several years. The Ministerium also wishes to thank all the loyal volunteers who work tirelessly, as well as the Town of Thurmont for providing a new home for this important community outreach. The Thurmont Food Bank’s motto “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” is proven to be true again and again, because so many people contribute food, time, and financial assistance. Thank you to everyone who has helped to keep the food bank going and to all who are helping with this move.