The Spring has ended and Summer Season is swiftly coming to an end. Spring and Summer are growing seasons for fresh fruits and vegetables. It is the time that we can eat seasonal fruits and vegetables straight from the farmer. In season fruits and vegetables have the stuff we need to live healthy lives. The Church feels that it is important to show the love of Jesus and to be of service to our community. The Farmer’s Market is a wonderful opportunity to serve.
According to the U. S. government’s definition of a food desert, we are geographically located in a food desert. Food deserts are areas that have limited access to fresh and affordable healthy foods. A farmer’s market is an excellent opportunity to support the needs of the community and provide healthy food. In 2022, we supported three markets. In 2023, we were fortunate to be able to support four markets. Beltway Church of Christ celebrated its second year of supporting our community by hosting a local farmer, Shlagel Farms, and partnering with our neighbors and other agencies and organizations in our community.
There were a variety of customers ranging from young families to senior citizens buying food at the markets. Customers visiting the market were excited to be able to buy in-season fruits and veggies. Many customers arrived before the market was open. The market began at 10:00 a.m. and closed at 1:00 p.m. The farmer was sold out of fresh fruits and vegetables by 12:30 at the last two markets for the season. The number of attendees at each session ranged from 100 – 150.
Each Market Day offered the blessing of a service oriented, educational, and fun filled day. The Greater Baden Medical Services staff was present to register WIC participants and respond to questions. The University of Maryland Extension Service Nutrition Program was present to provide recipes, nutrition advice and educational activities for the children. The Judy Center was present to talk with parents about the benefits of their child’s reading and distributed free books to the children. [The mission of the Judy Center, located in Hillcrest Heights, is to provide comprehensive, integrated, full-day, full-year services that promote school readiness for children from birth through age five]. A representative of “Wellpoint” insurance was present to answer Medicaid and Medicare questions. Additionally, the Silver Hills Lions Foundation brought its van to conduct vision and hearing screening. As a result of the screenings, many attendees were helped and given glasses and referrals for assistance.
We thank God for the opportunity to serve and for providing the resources to support the Farmer’s Market to meet the needs of our neighbors:
Shlagel Farms of Waldorf
Greater Baden Medical Services
University of Maryland Extension Service – Nutrition (Clinton Office)
Silver Hills Lions Foundation
Submitted by Sis. Mae Johnson, Healthcare Ministry
In recent years the term “Food Desert” has become popular. Exactly what is a “Food Desert”?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines “food deserts” as areas where people live more
than 1 mile from a supermarket in urban areas, or ten miles away in rural areas. This often
translates into families shopping at ‘mini-marts’ or gas stations for their routine groceries
creating poor access to healthy food. The Center for Disease reports that “food deserts,” areas
characterized by relatively poor access to healthy and affordable food, may contribute to social
disparities in diet and diet-related health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity .
Although the term “food desert” can mean an absence of retail food in a defined area, studies
of “food deserts” more commonly assess differential accessibility to healthy and affordable
food between socioeconomically advantaged and disadvantaged areas.
Several areas in Prince George's County are identified as “food deserts”. Included in the list
of food desert areas are Suitland, Camp Springs, Temple Hills, Capitol Heights and areas
adjacent to or near Andrews Air Force Base. The absence of nutritious foods creates a
challenge for the citizens living in these areas. Prince George's County government reports that
the existence of farmers markets can be a great help. Studies continually show that food and
produce purchased at Farmer’s Markets are a more healthy choice than foods purchased at
grocery stores. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend to their clients to purchase fresh
food from a farmer’s market when available.
The Beltway Church of Christ, located at 6000 Davis Blvd, Camp Spring, MD is within a food
desert. Because we are dedicated to supporting our neighbors, our Healthcare Ministry will be
hosting four farmers markets this year. We are partnering with Greater Baden Medical
Services and Shlagel Farms to offer the community the opportunity to purchase fresh, healthy
foods straight off the farm. We encourage you to visit the Farmer’s Market from 10:00 a.m. –
1:00 p.m. on the dates listed on the attached flier.
Submitted by Mae Johnson, Healthcare Ministry
Senior Ministry Outing to Museum of the Bible
The Senior members of Beltway Church of Christ were treated to a special trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the Museum of the Bible. On Saturday, April 15, 2023, the group met at the church building and were driven to downtown Washington by the group organizer and Chairperson for the Senior Ministry, Penelope Richardson. This field trip was a wonderful opportunity to provide an outing for our seniors as well as a chance to fellowship and visit one of the newest museums to open in the DC area.
The Museum of the Bible opened in November 2017. The museum has four floors filled with many artifacts and things to see and do. It offers a wide variety of exhibits and topics on the Bible. Exhibits focused on a variety of themes and topics related to Bible history, interpretation of the Bible in different languages, the influence of the Bible in history, and many others. Many of the exhibits were interactive. The top floor has a lovely outdoor space, with a wonderful view of the city. There is a cafeteria style restaurant on the top floor and a gift shop on the ground floor. You need several visits to take in all there is to see!
The group had a wonderful experience and truly look forward to our next opportunity to fellowship one with another!
by Sis Roslyn McCloud, Senior Saints Ministry