Enthusiasm + Generosity = Pathology’s Successful Food Drive

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do now for I shall not pass this way again. 

 –Attributed to Stephen Grellet


This April, Pathology Lab staff at the Johns Hopkins Hospital donated food to the Maryland Food Bank. All kinds of nutritious foods such as peanut butter, tuna fish, cereal, oatmeal, crackers, applesauce, puddings, fruit cups, granola bars, cereal, beans and rice, nuts, and soups were collected.

The caravan of food — five cartfuls of groceries.


This was the Department’s 2017 Lab Week charity cause, organized by Microbiologists Paula Mister and Carrie Holdren-Serrell.

Carrie Holdren-Serrell and Paula Mister. Carrie came up with the food drive idea, and Paula was instrumental in making it happen!


At the end of the week, groceries were weighed to determine the Lab Week charity winners.  The food drive culminated in 1,351.17 pounds of food, enough to provide over 900 meals.  The winners were the Microbiology Lab with a total of 512 pounds, and Transfusion Medicine with 8 pounds of food per person. Congratulations, Micro and Blood Bank!


Carrie tallying up Micro’s food donations.


Zelalem helps transport food to the Fishes and Loaves van.


The Maryland Food Bank was very appreciative of Pathology’s efforts. Beth Wedekind, their events manager, explained that the Maryland Food Bank does not serve the public directly, but partners with over 1,200 organizations to get food into the community–churches, schools, and local food pantries.   Our donations eventually made it to the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry located in southwest Baltimore, probably the largest food pantry in the metropolitan region, open five days a week and one Saturday per month.


Paula and Rev. Andre Samuels of Fishes and Loaves at the Wolfe Street Circle.


Reverend Andre Samuel, the director of Fishes and Loaves, drove to the Hospital to pick up the donations. He said his pantry mainly serves families living below the poverty line and the working poor, as well as many seniors.   On an average day, about 75-150 people are served, and Fishes and Loaves had 45,000 visits last year. Rev. Samuel stressed, “There is a great need for food.”  Growing up poor in a family of twelve, he said he would regularly accompany his mother to food pantries and his family lived on those groceries. He added that he was very fortunate to reach an executive level career at the NSA in Fort Meade with only a high school diploma, and that when he retired he knew he wanted to give back to the community.  Hence, the Fishes and Loaves was started and continues seven years later.


Paula with some of the donations.
Our University of Delaware students Karl and Ryan helped pack and  transport all the groceries from the Lab to the Fishes and Loaves van.

Many, many thanks to Carrie and Paula of Micro, educational coordinators Lorraine Blagg, Karen Bordenet, Christine Hostetter and Brittney Howard, UD students Ryan and Karl, and to each and every one who donated food.   The food drive was a very successful and important Lab Week charity project.

Renata Karlos
Staff Assistant
Department of Pathology