ST. MICHAELS — The St. Michaels Community Center and local businesses provided free Thanksgiving meals and groceries to neighbors and families in need this week. They will replicate that community effort for Christmas along with a toy drive.

The community center has served as a local food pantry hub during the COVID-19 pandemic and all its socio-economic impacts.

SMCC staff and volunteers prepared and packaged more than 200 Thanksgiving meals for delivery and pick up for those in need this holiday season.

Local businesses also helped. Awful Arthur’s Seafood Company restaurant in St. Michaels donated 16 cooked and sliced turkeys as well as pumpkin pies and traditional Thanksgiving sides as part of the community effort.

The Inn at Perry Cabin donated nine additional turkeys and other donors provide cash gifts.

The St. Michaels Community Center also provided more than more than 200 grocery bags of food and 62 boxed meals in conjunction with the Maryland Food Bank.

“This year is especially bittersweet for me,” said SMCC Executive Director Trish Payne, who will be retiring at the end of this year. “While we aren’t having our usual community gathering due to COVID precautions, I’m still grateful for the opportunity to provide outreach, connection, and a delicious meal to our neighbors in need, especially this year.”

SMCC is also hosting a Christmas toy and household item drive, with donated items dropped off by December 18 at Treasure Cove Thrift Shop at 200 Railroad Ave. Mondays through Saturdays from 10 to 2 pm; or at SMCC at 103 Railroad Ave. on Mondays from 5 to 7 pm; Wednesdays from 3 to 5 pm; and Fridays from 11 to 3 pm.

Suggested donations include toys, personal hygiene items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, and shampoo; family home care items like detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, and sponges; and non-perishable food items.

SMCC staff and volunteers will also be preparing Christmas meals for pick-up and delivery to those in need. The meals are provided at no charge.

Since April, SMCC has provided 11,374 bags of groceries and 12,447 take-out and delivery meals while serving as the COVID-19 Bay Hundred food pantry hub since Apr. 6.

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