Saint Martin’s Authors’ Post Luncheon 2017

Authors Claudia Kalb and John A. O’Brien entertained guests at Saint Martin’s Ministries’ 20th anniversary author’s luncheon on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the Prospect Bay Country Club.

L-R Author – Johnny O’Brien, Emcee – Ben Tilghman, SMM CEO – Jean Austin, Author – Claudia Kalb and SMM Chair of the Board of Directors – Mark Freestate.

Claudia Kalb, whose book Andy Warhol was a Hoarder, shared stories about eccentricities of such famous persons as Marilyn Monroe and George Gershwin, in addition to Warhol. A question about whether Gershwin would have written Rhapsody in Blue if he had been medicated for attention deficit disorder provided an opportunity for the enthusiastic audience to offer their input.

Author John A. O’Brien’s story of his childhood at the Hershey School and journey through adulthood engaged the audience completely. His work, Semisweet: An Orphan’s journey Through the School the Hershey’s Built, details many twists and turns in his life including the discovery that he is not truly an orphan. O’Brien’s keen insight into how individuals react to institutional settings was clearly illustrated by the examples he shared.

SMM 20th Anniversary Luncheon Committee and Volunteers from L-R Renee Waldron, Mary Helen Friel, Betty Barbe, Deborah Hudson Vornbrock, Jean Austin, Maggie Lewis, Sister Catherine Higley, OSB, Margie Callahan Palazzola, Ellen Foster and Diane Pappas.

Guests bid on a variety of silent auction items including an original wooden sculpture by Baltimore artist H. Lee Hirsche and a vacation rental in Naples, Florida. Books were available for purchase and signing by the authors.  The event occurs the first Saturday in March each year.

The 2oth Anniversary celebration featured books and memories from the prior nineteen years and also featured remarks from Sister Patricia Gamgort, Executive Director Emerita of Saint Martin’s.

The event benefits Saint Martin’s Ministries in Ridgely Maryland. Saint Martin’s helps low income families facing the trauma of hunger and homelessness. Providing services to more than 300 families each month the organization has acted as a safety net for low income families in the mid-shore region for more than 30 years. Each year the Book and Authors’ Luncheon raises funds to support Saint Martin’s House program for homeless women and children and the Emergency Food Pantry. For more information please contact Deborah Hudson Vornbrock at or at 410.634.2537 x 102.

Saint Martin’s Ministries 20th Annual Author’s Luncheon

Local author Johnny A. O’Brien and his book, Semisweet: An Orphan’s Journey Through the School the Hershey’s Built will be one of the two featured authors at Saint Martin’s Ministries 20th Annual Book and Author Luncheon. The event, begun in 1998, has featured 65 authors of children’s books, cookbooks, and contemporary politics and current events. Also speaking at this year’s event will be Claudia Kalb whose most recent book is Andy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities.

MHF and Diane Pappas   Ben and Mark

Photos: Mary Helen Friel and Diane Pappas, committee members for the Saint Martin’s Ministries Author’s Luncheon (left), Ben TIlghman, emcee for Saint Martin’s Ministries 20th Anniversary Authors’ Luncheon and Mark Freestate, Chair of Saint Martin’s Ministries Board of Directors (right).

Prospect Bay Country Club is the site for this year’s event. A silent auction and talks by the two authors offering insight into the creative process are the luncheon’s agenda. The authors are available to sign their works and will answer questions from the audience about the inspiration for their works.

This year’s silent auction items include an original sculpture by Baltimore artist H. Lee Hirsche, and several rental property opportunities including downtown Philadelphia, NYC, Reboth Beach, and Naples, Florida. Hand-crafted necklaces and bracelets, made by residents of Saint Martin’s house are a favorite auction item each year.

The event benefits Saint Martin’s Ministries in Ridgely Maryland. Saint Martin’s helps low income families facing the trauma of hunger and homelessness. Providing services to more than 300 families each month the organization has acted as a safety net for low income families in the mid-shore region for more than 30 years. Each year the Book and Author raises funds to support Saint Martin’s House program for homeless women and children and the Emergency Food Pantry.

Trunk or Treat at Saint Martin’s

On the evening of Wednesday, 26th of October, Saint Martin’s with the help of many community groups and volunteers celebrated Halloween at its first Trunk or Treat event. Thanks to a generous donation by Girl Scout Troop 487 from Centreville, every child had the opportunity to receive a free Halloween costume from the Saint Martin’s Thrift Store. Over 100 kids in costumes “trunk or treated” in the parking lot. Trunks were decorated by SMM staff, volunteers and local service organizations including: Caroline and Dorchester County Local Management Boards, Caroline 4-H Club, Caroline County Sheriff’s Department, Board of Childcare and Caroline Department of Juvenile Services.


Photos: Hippies enjoy Trunk or Treat (left), books for the kids to take home (middle), stuffed animals: another healthy alternative to candy! (right)

Families were treated to a snack of “candy corn” fruit cup with pineapple and mandarin oranges. SMM participates University of Maryland’s Market to Mealtimes program that healthy seasonal recipes. Saints Peter and Paul students and ROTC students from Easton High School volunteered, helping to make the evening an exhilarating success. Complimentary hot dogs and juice were served as snacks. Besides simply receiving candy, the children were offered their choice of a stuffed animal and a book to take home. Thanks to the efforts of Steve Hovland, each child in a costume was photographed and given the picture to take home.

Participating families were thrilled to have the opportunity for an evening of trick or treating in a safe and friendly environment.

Financial support for this event was provided by Callahan’s Gas and Caroline Human Services Council.

Saint Martin’s Ministries Announces Changes to Board and Staff

Rebecca Lepter has recently joined the staff of Saint Martin’s Ministries as Director of Programming. Rebecca’s responsibilities include developing and implementing programs for Saint Martin’s Barn and Food Pantry. Rebecca comes to Saint Martin’s from the Family & Community Partnerships of Kent County, a Maryland Local Management Board, where she was the Director.

Board Changes

Nick Iliff has joined the Saint Martin’s Board as it’s newest member. Nick is an attorney from Denton and works as a public defender in Caroline County.

Joanne Rich, owner of Inn at Huntingfield Creek and Java Rock, is finishing her term as Chairperson for the Board. The New Officers of the Board are Mark Freestate, Chairman, Kevin Daney, Vice Chairman, Marck Callahan, Treasurer, and Sara Rich, Secretary. Chris Maxwell is finishing nine years of service on the Saint Martin’s Board of Directors. Saint Martin’s Ministries would like to recognize and thank him for his term of faithful service.

Food For Thought: Adding Value at Saint Martin’s Food Pantry


FreshPaper products

Ridgely, MD, August 18, 2016–Saint Martin’s Food Pantry is a happening place this summer. And it is exciting! The Food Pantry is more than just a place for food, many other beneficial activities are taking place. Through the generosity of donations, backpacks and supplies were purchased and made available to elementary school children – 100 backpacks, filled with supplies, were distributed. On August 10 Carrie Davis Murphy visited the Food Pantry to talk about FreshPaper, an exciting product designed to keep produce fresh for longer periods of time. FreshPaper by Fenugreen is committed to ending hunger by preventing universal food spoilage, through organic, simple methods. The Food Pantry is passing out free FreshPaper with fresh produce for the rest of August.

Backpacks 2016

School children receiving backpacks

Saint Martin’s Food Pantry is also participating in the University of Maryland’s Market to Mealtime food stamp education program. Through a series of evening programs, clients receive recipe cards and an opportunity to taste the described food. Previous tastings include strawberry s’mores and walnut hummus. The next tasting is scheduled for August 17. This is an on-going free program that encourages clients to taste new foods using fresh, healthy ingredients.

Saint Martin’s and Choptank Health Services have partnered to provide dental hygiene information and referrals to clients. Since the 1st dental hygiene night, individuals have received education and support to help them improve their dental health. The next dental hygiene night will take place at Saint Martin’s on September 7, 2016

These types of outreach enhance the services provided to the families who come to Saint Martin’s for help. There is a lot happening at Saint Martin’s Food Pantry to assist families on the Eastern Shore in a variety of ways. Please check our Facebook page for upcoming scheduled activities.

Saint Martin’s Ministries and Talbot Special Riders Present Music on the Miles

Rock Hall Ladies

Guests enjoy the view at Miles River Yacht Club.

Live “Classic Rock” and “Blues” bands await as you dine and dance at the beautiful Miles River Yacht Club in St. Michaels Maryland, Saturday August 27th from 4:00 to 8:00 pm. Please join Saint Martin’s Ministries and Talbot Special Riders for Music on the Miles on what is sure to be a memorable evening!

Our emcee, Maryland State Delegate Johnny Mautz, will keep the night rolling as you enjoy the sounds of Three Penny Opera Mona Lisa and Southbound, original, local favorites! An exciting auction and Mystery Wine Grab will complete the event.

Tickets are $90 per person and include a fantastic Eastern Shore Picnic Buffet and unlimited beer, wine, and sodas. Sponsorship opportunities featuring multiple tickets are also available.

Saint Martin’s Ministries assists low-income mid-shore families meet their basic needs of food, clothing and housing. In its 33rd year in Ridgely, MD, Saint Martin’s is a nondenominational, non-profit organization. Saint Martin’s House, a 2 year residential program, helps women and their children transition from homelessness to stability.
Saint Martin’s receives support from United Way and United Fund.

Talbot Special Riders provides life enhancing physical and emotional therapy to individuals through therapeutic horseback riding. In its 35th year, in it’s new location on Timber Grove Farm in Preston, TSR emphasizes building confidence and self-esteem.

For more information about Music on the Miles please call Grace at 410.634.2537 ext. 10, or email her at

Doing “Her Diaper Duty”

groupBlogger benefits community

Ridgely, MD, July 9, 2016– On Saturday 3 large truckloads of diapers, diaper cream and wipes were delivered to Saint Martin’s Ministries. Blogger Jackie Weisman is the leading light behind this bountiful act of generosity. Dedicated to providing diapers to needy families with babies, this is Jackie’s 3rd Diaper Drive. Through her blog, 12 for 1: Diapering Delmarva, she collected over 10,000 diapers, plus diaper cream and wipes to donate to SMM, who will distribute them on the individual level.

These diapers will be given to the underprivileged families with young children who come to Saint Martin’s for help. Jackie’s dedication to “bridging the diaper gap” allows these families to provide their babies with the basic necessities which so many of us take for granted. Saint Martin’s is honored to be able to help Jackie with this mission which is making so great a difference in the lives of so many.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” William James

Saint Martin’s Ministries is dedicated to providing food, clothing and shelter to those who need help. SMM provides transitional housing for women and their children.

If you would like more information about Jackie’s mission or would like to make a diaper donation, please visit her website at

Photo: Pictured from left to right: Sam Weisman (husband), Jim Orr (SMM volunteer), Lauren Dorsch (Choptank transport volunteer), Jackie Weisman, Odette (SMM), Mike Barry (Jackie’s father) and Mike Weisman (son)

Saint Martin’s Ministries Brings Back Empty Bowls Event on Feb 18

Saint Martin’s Ministries will hold an Empty Bowls event on February 18, 2016 at their location in Ridgely. Empty Bowls is a 25 year old countrywide movement to help food pantries and soup kitchens. Saint Martin’s event will be in the Food Pantry located at Saint Martin’s barn, 14374 Benedictine Lane. The barn will open for Empty Bowls at 5PM with soup servings at 5:30 and 6:30 PM.

Holding an Empty Bowls event in a working food pantry will give those who attend a firsthand look at the work of feeding the hungry in Caroline County. Soup will be served in the food pantry packing room and the bowls will be from the thrift store operated by the Ministries. A bestselling cookbook intended to help food stamp recipients, Good and Cheap: Eating Well on $4 a Day by Leanne Brown, is the recipe source for the soups.

Local musician Warren Brey will provide music and guests are invited to look for bargains in the thrift store. Admission to the event is $20 and includes a dinner of soup, bread and dessert, your choice of bowl and a raffle ticket for door prizes. Some seating is still available. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Mariyah Jenkins at 410 634 2537, Extension 104.

Caroline County ranks as one of the 10 poorest counties in Maryland. Saint Martin’s Ministries has been helping families meet their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter for more than 30 years. Supporting this event will help provide food to people in need.

St. Martin’s Ministries to Host 18th Annual Authors’ Luncheon, March 7

For the past 17 years, Saint Martin’s Ministries Annual Authors’ Luncheon has brought top nationally bestselling authors to the Eastern Shore for an afternoon of discussions with the authors, book signings, and a silent auction. This enlightening afternoon is a key fundraiser for the work of Saint Martin’s Ministries.

This year’s authors include Joan Biskupic whose biography of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and The Politics of Justice looks at Sonia Sotomayor’s rise from poverty to Supreme Court Justice. Ms. Biskupic has been featured in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and NPR and is the editor in charge for legal affairs at Reuters News. Elaine Eff’s book, The Painted Screens of Baltimore documents a beloved folk art of Baltimore. Local poet Meredith Davies Hadaway’s two collections of poems, At the Narrows and The River is a Reason explores the beauty of local places and emphasizes the sense of place that is the Eastern Shore.

For over 30 years SMM has helped low income families on the Eastern Shore meet their basic needs of food, clothing and housing. Services offered by Saint Martin’s Ministries include an emergency food program, eviction assistance, a thrift store and a 2 year transitional housing program for women and their children.

Saint Martin’s receives support from United Way and United Fund. Numerous women and children from the Eastern Shore have benefited from the work of Saint Martin’s Ministries. Tickets are still available. For more information about Saint Martin’s Ministries and this year’s Authors’ Luncheon please visit or contact Deborah Hudson Vornbrock at 410.634.2537 ext. 102.

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St. Martin’s Ministries Distributes “Good and Cheap” Cookbooks


House Resident, Zymira Lofland (with help from her daughter) preparing a recipe from Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/day

A resident of Saint Martin’s House, staff and volunteer Charlotte Hawes are making a special effort to provide food pantry clients with new ways to prepare some familiar foods this week.

For Christmas some of the families who come to Saint Martin’s Ministries for emergency food received the Kickstarter project cookbook, Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/day by Leanne Brown. Good and Cheap started as a free PDF cookbook for people with tight budgets, especially people receiving SNAP/Food Stamp benefits. The Kickstarter project funded a print run using a “get one, give one system” and has resulted in almost 9,000 printed copies donated to people in need.

Saint Martin’s purchased copies of Good and Cheap at the non-profit discounted rate and is sharing them with clients this holiday season. Jean Austin, CEO of Saint Martin’s Ministries, said, “It is a lovely cookbook with beautiful pictures and simple, tasty recipes. Often the food we are able to provide through government sources and the food bank is very plain. Leanne’s book demonstrates how to make basic foods taste better with spices and a variety of cooking techniques. There is an emphasis on healthier approaches such as turning a can of vegetables into a spread and serving it on whole wheat toast.”

Volunteer Charlotte Hawes gives out samples and a copy of the cookbook that provides families easy nutritious recipes to make on a food stamp budget.

Volunteer Charlotte Hawes gives out samples and a copy of the cookbook that provides families easy nutritious recipes to make on a food stamp budget.

Saint Martin’s House resident Zymira Lofland who has a background in culinary arts prepared several of the recipes from the book for clients of the emergency food pantry to try. Residents of

Saint Martin’s House establish personal goals to help themselves become self-sufficient. Zymira’s goal is to establish a catering business.

Located in Ridgely, Saint Martin’s Ministries has been helping people in poverty for more than 30 years by providing access to emergency food, inexpensive clothing and household goods, and supporting families who need assistance with housing. Visit for more information.