St. Michaels Community Center Executive Director Trish Payne has recently announced her retirement to the Board of Advisors, with plans to stay on with the nonprofit through December. The Board will name Payne Executive Director Emerita upon her retirement to honor her longstanding role leading the organization.
“It has been a sincere honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to serve my neighbors and friends in the Bay Hundred Community,” said Payne. “I am very grateful to have enjoyed the many valuable partnerships with local businesses and other non-profits that I had the pleasure of working with all these years. Most of all, my most heartfelt appreciation goes out to the incredible family of staff members and everyone that supported and believed in the mission of SMCC. Thanks for the memories.”
“Helping those in need has always been the mission closest to Trish’s heart. Trish has been instrumental in establishing SMCC as the Maryland Food Bank hub during the COVID pandemic beginning this past March,” said SMCC Board Vice President Carolina Barksdale. “With new administrators for the Food Distribution Program in place, Trish now feels that the program is established and she can move ahead with her long-planned retirement.”
“We are extremely grateful for Trish’s leadership and service to the people of St. Michaels and the Bay Hundred region,” said SMCC Board President John Stumpf. “Because of Trish’s dedication and hard work, we can continue to provide much needed services to the people in our community that need it the most. And because of Trish, SMCC is now in great shape to be under the reigns of our next leader. We’re excited about what the future holds.”
Stumpf says the Board has formed a search committee to identify SMCC’s next Executive Director, and that Payne plans to continue volunteering in the community after her retirement.
Payne is a long-time resident of Talbot County and St. Michaels. She came to SMCC in 2007 following a 28-year career in the financial services industry. Trish also has enjoyed a lifetime of experience in the performing arts as an actor, dancer, singer, director, and a professional clown. She has always been involved and active in the community, and continues to thrive on being of service in her hometown and the Bay Hundred area.
The St. Michaels Community Center’s mission is to serve, empower, and connect the community. The Community Center is currently conducting an online needs-assessment survey, with public participation encouraged. The survey is accessible at bit.ly/smccsurvey20.
The St. Michaels Community Center is seeking donations of new toys, non-perishables, toiletries, and household goods, which can be dropped off or shipped directly to SMCC at 103 Railroad Ave., St. Michaels, Md., 21663.
Charitable donations can be dropped off at Treasure Cove Thrift Shop at 200 Railroad Ave. Mondays through Saturdays from 10 to 2 pm, or at SMCC on Mondays from 5-7 pm; Wednesdays from 3 to 5 pm; and Fridays from 11 to 3 pm.
SMCC is collecting toys, games, books, clothing items and infant items up until December 18. Food items and household products can be dropped off anytime.
Suggested donations include toys suited for children of all ages; personal hygiene items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, and shampoo; family homecare items like detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, and sponges; and food items like canned chicken, tuna, roast beef, ravioli, pasta, stew, peanut butter, rice, soup, crackers, pudding, and fruit cups.
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, with SMCC donors and in-kind donations helping to offset costs through their support.
SMCC usually hosts annual community dinners at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. This year they have transitioned to take-out and delivery meals as part of the Community Center’s role as the Bay Hundred area’s food hub during the COVID pandemic.
SMCC also provides emergency clothing and household goods through its Treasure Cove Thrift Shop on Railroad Ave. in St. Michaels, which is open for shoppers with masks and social distancing Mon. through Sat., 10 to 2 pm. Donations to the Thrift Store of gently used clothing, toys, household goods, and furniture are gratefully accepted each of those days from 10 to 1:30 pm.
Donations to SMCC and proceeds from the Treasure Cove Thrift Shop in St. Michaels, Md. help the nonprofit provide year-round community programs and services that contribute to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of people from throughout the Bay Hundred area, with more at stmichaelscc.org.
The St. Michaels Community Center is surveying the local community to help shape its future programs and services. St. Michaels and Bay Hundred area residents are encouraged to participate, with the 3-minute survey available online at bit.ly/smccsurvey20.
A paper version of the survey will also be also available at the St. Michaels Post Office, Treasure Cove Thrift Shop, Graul’s Market, local churches, and more.
“Our current programming is emergency focused and already has a very strong purpose that will continue well into the near future,” said SMCC Advisory Board Member Karen Footner. “The information received in this very short survey will help inform the case for supporting the long term future of SMCC.”
SMCC announced in April that the Maryland General Assembly has appropriated funds that must be matched for an engineering study and architectural design to renovate SMCC’s building at 103 Railroad Avenue in St. Michaels.
Built for use as a lumber warehouse in 1940, SMCC’s building has received minimal upgrades since then. State Senator Adelaide Eckardt and State Delegate John Mautz sponsored the bill, with SMCC Advisory Board member Langley Shook testifying at a joint hearing to support the bill.
“Our community and the SMCC team thank the generous donors who already have matched these State funds as required by the legislation,” said Shook. “The people of St. Michaels and the Bay Hundred area need and deserve a sounder, safer facility to better serve the community– something we all can be proud of. This is made more evident during the current COVID-19 crisis, where SMCC has been designated as the Bay Hundred’s Food Distribution Hub.”
The St. Michaels Community Center promotes and provides quality activities and services contributing to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of the community. SMCC is dedicated to filling the unmet needs of the Bay Hundred and St. Michaels communities by providing supervised program opportunities for the enrichment of children and teens; activities and services for adults and senior citizens; and affordable recreational, social, and educational activities to community residents of all ages, regardless of ethnicity, gender or economic status.
Charitable donations to SMCC and sales proceeds from its Treasure Cove thrift shop in St. Michaels support the nonprofit’s year-round programs and services for people from throughout the Bay Hundred area. A link to the needs assessment survey and more information is at stmichaelscc.org.
SMCC continues to be grateful for the support of our neighbors and friends in the Bay Hundred Area, with these stories just a few of the people and organizations helping SMCC during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gourmet by the Bay
Gourmet by the Bay and their customers are helping to make a real difference by providing nutritious meals to ensure no one in our community goes hungry. This support makes a real difference in the lives of the people we serve. (And... this is the kind of good we all need to focus on right now!)
Gourmet by the Bay recently posted this note to their website:
"Once again, we would like to extend our gratitude to all of our customers who have donated to the St. Michael's Community Center Soup Program.
"To date, we have prepared, packaged, and delivered more than 1,400 quarts of soup. Additionally, as the weather got warmer, we moved from preparing soups to helping with the weekly meal distribution.
"With the help of each of you, we have delivered three different meals for up to 125 people in the community from homemade pasta bolognese to shepherd's pie to grilled chicken Caesar salads with all the traditional condiments."
Lisa Foss, Cookie Artist
Lisa Foss of Royal Oak, Md., who loves to bake and is very creative, came up with this idea to do something for others. Every week she arrives at SMCC with 150 hand-decorated cookies-check out the ones in the photo above.
These cookies are added as special treats for our food delivery and take-out guests. One of our guests last week said that she treasures receiving these cookies because they make her smile and feel cared for.
"I heard about the good work being done at SMCC and wanted to participate in some way," says Foss. "A weekly cookie donation seemed like a good idea. These are such unprecedented times we're in right now and finding reasons to smile is so important. There is such a thing as baking the world a better place! At the end of the day, if there is a need and a way you can help, why not?"
Lisa and her husband recently relocating here full-time after splitting their time between the Eastern Shore and Manhattan. Foss says for the past ten years, she had been working at various community kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters throughout the city.
Her work focused on a number of issues and provided a variety of services-always with the end goal of treating clients with dignity and respect. She started decorating and donating cookies for special events at various non-profits in the city because she enjoyed making them and others enjoyed receiving them.
Chris Agharabi, Restaurateur
Chris Agharabi, owner of Theo's Steaks, Sides & Spirits, Ava's Pizzeria & Wine Bar, and Hammy's Hideout in St. Michaels, Md. is another SMCC helper. He led the way in providing fresh produce for people at the beginning of the pandemic in a coordinated food drive-thru. He also knows a thing or two about who to go to and what works best when purchasing commercial kitchen equipment.
That's why we turned to Chris for advice that saved SMCC time and money when our oven broke earlier in the pandemic, and we needed to upgrade our kitchen with commercial equipment.
"Serving as the Bay Hundred area's food hub during the pandemic has had its challenges, especially when our oven broke," says SMCC Executive Director Trish Payne. "Chris was an incredible help to SMCC by hooking us up with sound advice on what to buy, and then connected us to his vendors for quick, professional service. Now our kitchen has received big upgrades, thanks to the help of Chris and funding from numerous grants."
The Hedgehogs are another great example of helpers who are helping make a difference at SMCC. The informal group known officially as the "Bay Hundred Citizens for Social Justice" is engaged in social and political activities supporting social justice, with an overall focus on being good neighbors.
Their outreach to the people SMCC serves includes several members providing homemade cookies, brownies, and other treats each week for our 150+ guests. Other members collect and provide non-perishable items, while some help deliver food in the community or volunteer directly with SMCC.
"Our group was formed to look at ways in which we might make positive contributions to our community and the country," said Hedgehog member John Scott. "At the time, one of our members happened to read a story about the scarcity of Hedgehogs in England. Their habitat had been divided into too-small units by fenced-in yards.
"The solution was found in making small openings or tunnels through those fences to give the Hedgehogs a larger functional habitat. Convoluted as it might be, that resonated with us and seemed like a good metaphor for the situation in which we found ourselves, so we adopted the nickname, Hedgehogs."
Graul's Market is another great example of those who are making a difference by helping SMCC. The locally managed and owned grocery store recently provided fried chicken for 132 delivery and take-out meals to people in need through SMCC's food support program.
"Graul's has been a steadfast supporter of the work the Community Center achieves," said SMCC Executive Director Trish Payne.
"They take being a community grocery store to another level through the community investments they make supporting SMCC and many of the other nonprofits in the Bay Hundred area. Not to mention how great their staff and deli are! We are blessed."
These are just a few examples of how the thoughtfulness and care of individuals from our community help us help others. You can help too with your tax-deductible donations.
Every dollar donated is used to operate SMCC and support our community outreach efforts.
Dear Community Helpers,
The St. Michaels Community Center in St. Michaels, Md. has been busier than ever over these past several months--more than any other time serving our community in SMCC's 30-year history.
Very soon after the COVID pandemic swept the globe and Maryland's Governor issued a stay-at-home order, SMCC was designated by the Talbot County Emergency Task Force as the Food Bank Hub of the Bay Hundred area.
With the support from organizations like No Kid Hungry, we've been able to provide 6,557 meals to our neighbors in need since April 6, 2020, in addition to distributing 6,474 bags of groceries and/or fresh produce boxes.
What is truly heartwarming are the number of volunteers who have stepped up to help us accomplish these huge tasks. Local restaurants like Gourmet by the Bay have been providing 150 quarts of soup or meals each week to help us make sure everyone is fed.
Volunteers from all over the Bay Hundred Area are baking delicious cookies, brownies, and desserts to make the meals feel like "Mom" packed 'em.
SMCC has also been fortunate to receive much-needed funding from extremely generous individuals and organizations to make sure we have everything we need to keep it going for as long as it's needed.
Thank you, for helping the helpers, and being a part of the heart of our community,
St. Michaels Community Center
When the St. Michaels Community Center began serving at the heart of the Bay Hundred community in 1990, no one could have imagined the impact the neighborhood organization would have 30 years later, especially while the organization serves as the Bay Hundred’s food hub during the nation’s COVID-19 pandemic. Nor would they have ever imagined the great kindness gathered during the pandemic through the organization’s role as the community’s helpers.
SMCC Executive Director Trish Payne says SMCC has helped provide 1,941 bags of groceries and 3,830 take-out and delivery meals to people from throughout the Bay Hundred area—which stretches from St. Michaels to Tilghman Island—in the weeks between April 6, 2020 and June 19, 2020.
The center continues to provide food support at its Railroad Ave. location on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and has recently re-opened its Treasure Cove Thrift Store with limited guests, required masks, and adherence to social distancing practices.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps around the globe, uncertainty and apprehension travel right along with it,” says Payne. “But humanity rises to the challenge in so many ways big and small, as I have been lucky enough to witness in St. Michaels through my role as the community center’s Executive Director.”
“In addition to all the selfless health care workers, law enforcement agencies, grocery workers, food manufacturers, truck drivers, churches, social service groups, soup kitchens and more, there are also many unseen heroes among us,” said Payne. “Neighbors, friends, and strangers are stepping up to support each other and the folks on the front lines helping to keep our communities safe, heal the sick, and feed the hungry.”
The St. Michaels Community Center is part of a community of food support organizations operating under the Talbot County Emergency Services Task Force. SMCC works as the Bay Hundred food hub, keeping food on the tables and bags of groceries in the homes of those in need. The center works in partnership with other food banks, churches, Meals on Wheels, and many local businesses and volunteers pulling together.
The St. Michaels Community Center—with a mission to serve, empower, and connect our community—is committed to combating discrimination and racism through its actions, partnerships, and programs. The Center’s programs of food distribution, neighborhood engagement, family activities, and more aim to bring neighbors together and reduce inequality.
Donations supporting SMCC can be made at paypal.me/smccmd, with non-perishable food, household supplies, and dry goods received by drop-off at the St. Michaels Community Center. More information is at stmichaelscc.org.
From the St. Michaels Community Center's Trustees and Executive Committee:
The St. Michaels Community Center, whose mission is to serve, empower, and connect our community, is committed to combating discrimination and racism through its actions, partnerships and programs. We stand with St. Michaels Town and its Police Department in condemning the senseless killing of George Floyd, whose death was a stark symbol of how much more work we all have to do to achieve a just society.
The Center’s programs of food distribution, neighborhood engagement, family activities, and more, aim to bring our neighbors together and reduce inequality. Our partnership with the police department’s SMYLE program helps introduce youths to community law enforcement. And our work with churches in the Bay Hundred area tries to foster greater understanding.
As the Center begins to celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, SMCC renews its pledge to be the expression of the heart of the community.
The Treasure Cove Thrift Shop is hosting a jewelry and art sale on Fri. and Sat., July 3 & 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with proceeds from all sales benefiting the people served by the programs and services of the St. Michaels Community Center.
The Treasure Cove Thrift Shop is located on the corner of Railroad Ave. and Fremont St., with ample parking and an outdoor area for shopping the sale. The sale includes one-of-a-kind estate, gemstone, and costume jewelry, along with artwork ranging from framed and matted photographs, prints, and other wall art.
The shop also offers in-season clothing, gently used furniture, and usable household goods from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with tax-deductible donations of gently used items accepted before 1:30 p.m. Social distancing measures are required, with masks worn while inside.
Treasure Cove is run in part by volunteers and partners with other local non-profits and Talbot County’s Department of Social Services to provide emergency assistance to people in need, including those suffering from the effects of fire, flood, eviction, job loss, or other special circumstances.
The St. Michaels Community Center is serving as the Bay Hundred Area's food hub during the COVID-19 pandemic, with bags of groceries and take-out and delivery meals provided to those in need. SMCC’s mission is to promote and provide quality services contributing to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of the community’s residents, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or economic status.
Donations to SMCC and proceeds from the Treasure Cove Thrift Shop help the community center provide year-round food-support programs and other community services for people from throughout the Bay Hundred area, with more at stmichaelscc.org.
From the June 3, 2020 issue of the Star Democrat:. Special to the Star Democrat by Tracey F. Johns
EASTON — Fred Rogers—also known as Mister Rogers of television fame—said that when he was a boy and saw scary things in the news, his mother would say to him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Finding the helpers is just what many people and organizations are doing to support Talbot County nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic, as individuals volunteer to help with efforts and generous donors step up to support essential programs and services.
Talbot County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelly Griffith said the school system has seen great support, including a student making N95 masks for local hospitals. She says the schools are grateful for volunteers Emily Moody and Megan Cook for their work with CarePacks, along with Easton Utilities for their outreach to help with hot spots, and the Academy Art Museum for providing art supplies for students.
“The St. Michaels Community Center is serving as the food hub for the Bay Hundred community during the coronavirus pandemic, which brought unexpected large, unbudgeted expenses to the nonprofit, including a $10,000 freezer,” said St. Michaels Community Center Director Trish Payne.
“My heart is warmed by our Board members and other donors and volunteers helping us serve community members in need,” Payne said. “From a bond bill match that will help make our building more usable and sound, along with the food hub donations, each of these acts of kindness will help make someone’s life better. On behalf of SMCC’s Advisory Board and staff, we are extremely grateful to our volunteers, donors, and friends whose generous and continuous support inspires us to serve the community whenever we are needed.”
Talbot Hospice Board Member Liz Freedlander said Talbot Hospice board members are paying for patient meals, and providing the meals through local caterers and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative began through the leadership of Talbot Hospice Board Secretary Pat Roche and helps staff focus on patient care while supporting local businesses.
“We’ve had a couple of folks buy lunch for our Y staff, which has been really great,” said YMCA of the Chesapeake Group Executive Derek White. “We also had someone make masks for staff and the children enrolled in the program. Our (recent) food drive ... filled about 12 barrels worth of food for the Maryland Food Bank from community members.”
Neighborhood Service Center Executive Director Marilyn Neal said NSC received an overwhelming community response during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Donations have increased through our faith-based community and both regular and new supporters,” Neal said. “Individuals are also having food shipped to our food pantry. These donations are critical to sustaining the households of low-income families, as well as those that have suffered job loss during this very difficult time.”
“We’ve had so many great people wrapping their arms around us,” said Talbot Interfaith Shelter Marketing and Development Director Jayme Dingler. “One person, in particular, is Jen McCrea of Hill’s Cafe and Juice Bar, who, while trying to keep her own business afloat, has been providing weekly grocery boxes for the guests in our transitional housing program,” Dingler said.
“The other one is Tommy Cassidy at Subway on Marlboro Road,” she said. “He had to lay off his whole staff, and is running the store by himself, but didn’t let that deter him from donating his monthly dinner for the guests in our shelter facility.”
Rotary International District 7630 Governor Nominee and Rotary Club of Easton member Hugh Dawkins says Rotary clubs in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore raised $35,000 over 10 days to provide personal protection equipment and food bank donations through the coordination of Disaster Aid USA. The funds provided more than 24,000 meals through local food banks and thousands of N95 and other PPE masks to area hospitals.
The Talbot Local Care Team, in partnership with Talbot County Emergency Management, recruited a volunteer pool to help with many different tasks throughout Talbot County.
All tasks have been conducted in a way to safeguard the health of volunteers, with more information and sign-ups at talbotcovid19.org/volunteer/.
The St. Michaels Community Garden is kicking off its 8th season of providing community members with space to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits, and more for personal consumption or for donation, as chosen by the gardeners themselves.
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