The year 2022 marks a special anniversary for the Mid-Shore’s Women & Girls Fund. For two decades, the WGF, under the watchful eye of its funder, Alice Ryan, and its diligent board members, have invested in some of the region’s most deserving charities to support and empower women and girls.
Over the next twelve months, the Spy will highlight some of the many organizations that the Women & Girls Fund has helped. Strategically using their limited resources to target programs typically overlooked by traditional philanthropists or government grants, the WGF board has found innovative ways to leverage their modest contributions for the most impact.
We continue our series with a conversation with Leslie Bishop, the founder, and director of Mid-Shore Meals Til Monday, based in Cambridge. Bishop starred Mid-Shore Meals Til Monday as a way for some of the most disadvantaged children of Dorchester County to have adequate food during weekends. While those young people are provided with meals during the school week, Leslie grew increasingly concerned that those kids would not have enough to eat over the weekends.
Motivated to start the program after reading about CarePacks project in Talbot County, Leslie began Mid-Shore Meals Til Monday in 2017 with the goal of operating in every public school in Dorchester. And as the organization celebrates its 5th year of existence, she and her army of volunteers have not only met that goal but have extended the program to the region’s summer schools, camps, faith-based organizations, and Community Behavioral Health.
Now with over 100 volunteers and serving from 800 to 1,000 children a week, Leslie is gratified for this remarkable level of community support and singles out the Women & Girls Fund as one of the first philanthropic investors of the fledgling nonprofit enterprise. In fact, she was so impressed with the WGF she agreed to join its board to help steward their Mid-Shore grants.
The Spy sat down with Leslie last week to talk about this important project and how the WGF has once again made significant impact on the Eastern Shore.