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Food Pantry Hits All-Time High in Families Served

The Christian Assistance Program food pantry handed out 1,849 servings of groceries in 2012, tripling the number served since its inception in 1986.

The Christian Assistance Program handed out more than 1,800 servings of food in 2012, marking an all-time high and continuing a steady increase in recent years. 

The pantry, which operates twice weekly out of the Severn United Methodist Church, handed out food to families 1,849 times, up from 1,709 in 2011 and 1,629 in 2010. 

The 2012 figure represents more than 150 servings each month, or between 30 and 40 servings a week. 

A "serving" of groceries generally represents about a week's worth of food and can vary depending on the size of the household. Visitors to the pantry are permitted to collect food no more than once a month. 

Visitors to the food pantry generally receive a variety of canned goods, dry cereal, bread, pasta, rice, peanut butter and other basic food items. In recent years, they have been provided vouchers for eggs, milk and juice at the Weis supermarket in Odenton. 

Since the pantry was founded in 1986, it has seen the amount of food distributed triple. It handed out 585 servings of groceries in 1986.

Food pantry manager Allen Gantt compiled the figures from each year back to 1986, based on annual records. Records from 1994 and 1995 were not available. 

The CAP food pantry serves needy families in Odenton, Severn, Gambrills, Hanover, Fort Meade and Jessup. It is supported by more than a dozen local churches and run entirely by volunteers. Food at the pantry is provided by the Maryland Food Bank and from donations. 

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