FREELAND, Md. — As Maryland begins to rebound and business begin to reopen, there is still a large need for food assistance. One local farm in Maryland has been stepping up to the plate to fill the gap.
First Fruits Farm now located in Freeland has been in existence for years and has given away more than 14.6 million pounds of fruits and vegetables to local food banks, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and other food providers.
For Executive Director, Rick Bernstein, it all started when he was looking for a way to serve with his family.
“First Fruits began over 20 years in a garden plot in Parkton with my wife Carol and our three kids as a way to have a family project and also give food away to those in need… God took it from humble beginnings, from a quarter of an acre to over 200 acres.” said Bernstein
Getting inspiration from the Bible, First Fruits is both ministry and service.
“In Matthew 25, our Lord says If people are hungry you need to feed them. And so we thought if we’re going to feed them we don’t want to give them leftovers." said Bernstein
Jen Gillispie grew up volunteering at First Fruits Farm with her parents, an now she serves as the Chief Executive Officer.
“It is impossible to be here and not feel inspired. Whether it’s by the people who have selflessly given their time to help others, the mission of feeding people in need, or just how everyone comes together for whatever needs to be done,” said Gillispie.
While COVID-19 has effected the number of volunteers who come to work the farm, Farm Manager, Jamison Hunsbeger has been working to make sure that all of the crops still get out of the ground.
“It definitely shifted towards more ways to mechanize more to replace some of the volunteers who haven’t been coming out through the covid , so we’re looking into options with machinery and processing lines” said Hunsberger.
Wesley Krock has been volunteering at the farm for 17 years and says service it what keeps him coming back.
“You get to come out and serve others spiritually and physically and there’s a lot of need for that.” Said Krock.
With over 200 acres, there is plenty of room for social distancing. If you are interested in volunteering click here