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Wills Group adds $300K to COVID-19 philanthropic response

Wills Group employee volunteers work alongside the Maryland Food Bank and LifeStyles of Maryland to provide much-needed meals to families and individuals across Maryland. Photo credit: Ana Isabel Martinez Chamorro

Wills Group employee volunteers work alongside the Maryland Food Bank and LifeStyles of Maryland July 8 to provide meals to families and individuals across Maryland at a “Pantry on the Go” mobile food distribution event at the company’s headquarters in LaPlata. (Photo by Ana Isabel Martinez Chamorro)

The LaPlata-based Wills Group announced Thursday an additional $300,000 in unrestricted grants to support nonprofit organizations working to help individuals and families in need across the mid-Atlantic region.

The announcement brings the company’s total philanthropic donations to address rising food insecurity issues caused by COVID-19 to $500,000 since March.

On March 31, the Wills Group, and its convenience store brand, Dash In, donated $200,000 in unrestricted grants to support four food banks operating across the mid-Atlantic region: the Maryland Food Bank, Food Bank of Delaware, Feed More of Richmond, Virginia and Capital Area Food Bank.

Of the $300,000 in additional grants announced today, $200,000 will be distributed to support the expansion of mobile food distribution efforts across the four food banks.

Southern Maryland nonprofit organizations Farming 4 Hunger and the Southern Maryland Food Bank will also each receive $30,000 to support their food pantries.

LifeStyles of Maryland will receive $40,000 that will be put toward their coronavirus response efforts to expand their reach to families in rural areas across southern Maryland. As part of these efforts, LifeStyles is constructing and placing cabanas and small sheds throughout the region, which volunteers will regularly stock with non-perishable food and toiletry items.

The Wills Group’s headquarters also served as a “Pantry on the Go” mobile food distribution center July 8 in partnership with the Maryland Food Bank and LifeStyles of Maryland. This contactless mobile pantry distributed nearly 100 fresh produce meal kits to families and individuals across Maryland, as well as 400 gallons of milk, donated by LifeStyles of Maryland. An additional 150 fresh produce meal kits were distributed across the region via Servants of Christ Ministries, End Hunger Charles County, and LifeStyles of Maryland.

Mobile food distribution has allowed the Maryland Food Bank, working with the Maryland Department of Transportation, along with local officials and volunteers, to safely and efficiently provide boxes of food through a contactless drive-through approach.

In addition to the $500,000 in grants made since March, Dash In has also worked to lift up local heroes by showing support and appreciation for health care professionals and first responders who are working to keep our communities healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic. From April 27 to May 3, Dash In provided free breakfast sandwiches to all health care professionals and first responders who visited any store across the mid-Atlantic region.

Dash In also invited its customers to express their appreciation for local heroes by participating in its Snack-O-Gram program, which ran through the month of May. Dash In customers were able to select a free snack to accompany a personalized message for health care professionals and first responders in their local community by visiting dashin.com. More than 2,500 Snack-O-Grams were delivered to 10 hospitals and fire stations across Maryland, Delaware and Virginia on June 23.

The Wills Group has nearly 300 retail locations across the mid-Atlantic region, including Dash In, Splash In ECO Car Wash, and SMO Motor Fuels. A family-owned company since 1926 with expertise in convenience retailing, fuels marketing and commercial real estate.

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