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Chance meeting spawns possible implementation

By AMANDA SCOTT

Staff writer

Some of the aspects of End Hunger in Calvert County could be implemented in Honduras in the near future after a chance meeting between a diplomat from the Honduran Embassy and the organization’s chairman.

On June 27, the counselor for private development assistance for The Embassy of Honduras, Pablo Mario Ordóñez, toured the End Hunger in Calvert County warehouse in Prince Frederick.

“End Hunger has crafted a unique combination of community ownership and involvement with the issue of local hunger, coupled with some innovative solutions to the problem, all the while maintaining both personal accountability and the dignity of those in need,” Ordóñez said in an EHCC news release. “This is definitely something that could work in the more rural areas of Honduras.”

End Hunger in Calvert County is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization partnering with area churches, charities, schools and businesses with the goal of ending hunger in Calvert County.

The Rev. Robert Hahn, chairman of EHCC and senior pastor of Chesapeake Church in Huntingtown, said during a phone interview that he and Ordóñez met in May when Hahn set up a meeting with the Honduran Embassy to discuss the church’s missions in a city in Honduras. Hahn said the church currently has a staff member and his family living in the city working with a medical clinic.

He said that after the meeting, Ordóñez was looking on the church’s website, saw something about End Hunger in Calvert County and thought the EHCC model could work for rural Honduras.

“Chesapeake Church has a strong commitment to doing ministry in rural Honduras so we figured meeting with Embassy officials was a good idea,” Hahn said in the release. “We never imagined that they would make the link that the End Hunger model could work for them as well. That’s what we call a God-thing.”

In the release, Ordóñez said what “struck” him about End Hunger was its philosophy that “if they don’t move the food out, God can’t refill the shelves. That thinking keeps their operation vibrant.”

Ordóñez said in the release he noticed End Hunger also collects candy and pet food to help people maintain “a sense of normalcy and dignity, that life is not hopeless.”

End Hunger’s “life skills and jobs programs give people who really want to change lives the opportunity to do so. It’s simple, but clearly effective,” Ordóñez said in the release, adding that charities in Honduras “give to the people but never expect anything back — this creates an unhealthy culture of dependency. End Hunger urges and trains people to be productive — becoming givers not just takers.”

Although End Hunger is known for it’s work with 11 partner food pantries in the county, the organization also sponsors job training and personal finance programs throughout the year. In September, the electrical training program will begin for the year and, in October, End Hunger will launch its first culinary classes.

“What he really appreciated was the 360-degree approach,” Hahn said, adding that End Hunger works on restoring normalcy to people’s lives so “they are more likely to become productive and not just stay in a cycle of dependence.”

Later this month or in August, Hahn said he is thinking of traveling to Honduras with Ordóñez.

Although there are no set plans for how any of EHCC’s aspects could be implemented in Honduras, Hahn said there are “serious talks” about what could work.

“It was pretty exciting. It was exciting to see ... even in our problems, we have commonality,” Hahn said. “They have the exact same problems.”

ascott@somdnews.com