The reels have been pulled in, the prize money has been awarded, but what happens now? The White Marlin Open is the world’s largest billfish tournament and we were incredibly happy to hear that they have partnered with the Maryland Food Bank to use their huge following to help those in need. We spoke with Butch Langenfelder, Food Sourcing Manager of the Maryland Food Bank, to find out what happens to all of the fish caught during the tournament.
As the Food Sourcing Manager, Langenfelder is responsible for acquiring and sourcing donations from businesses and farmers, often working closely with corporations to collect donations. Butch has been working for the Maryland Food Bank for 10 years, and, after working with the White Marlin Open for the last 7 of those, he says, “as long as I am alive, I will be a part of the White Marlin Open.” The Maryland Food Bank is thrilled to work with the White Marlin Open since they rarely get fresh fish and high protein items through donations.
While anglers are not required to donate their catches, they find that many of them are excited for the opportunity to help their local community by donating their haul. The Maryland Food Bank averages 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of donated fish each year from the White Marlin Open – that’s a lot of fish! Can you imagine what it would cost the organization to purchase 2,000 pounds of fresh fish?! The best part is that all of the donations went to three local pantries: Diakonia in West Ocean City, Son’Spot Ministries in Ocean City, and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ocean City. “Everyone was super appreciative,” Langenfelder told us.
Langenfelder insisted they “would not be a success without the volunteers on the dock, the Motsko family, the Reel Inn Restaurant, and Miss Rose who filleted all the fish right there on the dock.” Because of Miss Rose’s exceptional filleting skills, the fish was out in the community within 24 to 48 hours of it being caught. Langenfelder personally delivered the fish each night after Miss Rose had it prepared. While Langenfelder loves working with the team at the event, he also acknowledged that, “without the anglers being so kind, we wouldn’t be anywhere.”
“It’s a great event,” Langenfelder reiterated. “It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year. I love working with the Motsko family and Miss Rose.”
After speaking with Langenfelder, we were interested in learning more about how the Maryland Food Bank and White Marlin Open partnership is helping those in our community. Anna O’Neill, Communications Coordinator at Diakonia, told us that they received between 300 and 350 pounds of donated fish from the White Marlin Open tournament. Diakonia vacuum seals the fresh fish and freezes it so they can make it last for as long as possible. Oftentimes, the fresh fish is saved until the winter when they are low on protein and it is then distributed to those utilizing their housing or through their pantry. Anna said the amount of fish they received could provide our community with more than 700 meals!
Kudos to the White Marlin Open and the Maryland Food Bank for their tireless efforts in feeding our local community!