Mary Ann Slinkman works for “food for hungry Delaware seniors!”
Mary Ann Slinkman: From the Munchmobile to Meals on Wheels
The ‘80s and ‘90s building boom in Washington, D.C. brought great opportunities to many clever entrepreneurs. Just imagine all those construction people who had to be fed, day in and day out! Their schedules didn’t allow them the time to go to the food—so smart businesspeople brought the food to them. And one of those enterprising individuals was Rehoboth Beach resident Mary Ann Slinkman.
Mary Ann was born in Cheverly, Maryland. At 20, the last thing on her mind was dishin’-up home-cooked kielbasa, muffins, turkey dinners, chili dogs, and meatball subs to crowds of hungry workers. In fact, she had always dreamed of becoming a cop. She was part of the first graduating class for the D.C. Metro Police, but after spending three and-a-half years working undercover, she’d had enough.
So she traded in her police cruiser for a big brown UPS truck. Those of us who frequent Baltimore Ave. all know and love the delightful Rhonda (clad in those cute brown shorts even in the dead of winter); threading that Starship Enterprise-sized behemoth in and around every Rehoboth nook and cranny. I can just imagine Mary Ann perched up on that towering captain’s chair. And she remained perched for about a year-and-a-half, until she was promoted to Supervisor and Center Manager. For the next ten years she oversaw the 24-hour organized chaos of a UPS shipping depot.
She had been in a 10-year relationship with a woman whom she met at a softball game (imagine the odds of that), and she was sick of the 15-hour days and the stress of keeping Big Brown on the road. If she could fend for herself as a cop on the mean streets, and keep a hectic shipping center running day after day, then she could surely apply those skills to herself. And she did just that.
Armed with a single truck and a mastery of the split-second timing of delivering stuff to hundreds of people at multiple locations, Mary Ann became the proud owner of Specialty Catering Company. She learned on-the-job, did all her own cooking, and stood her ground nose-to-nose with the territorial thugs for whom that industry is known. Barely a year later, she purchased a second truck to cover the various routes she had worked hard to secure, including the Washington Redskins Stadium (now FedEx Field), the Washington Convention Center and even the Prince Georges County Jail. Her schedule included permanent stops where people lined up to wait for her as early as sunup.
Though Mary Ann was not necessarily “out” to her loyal customers, she still managed to have a life. Shortly after buying her third truck, she met a woman at the 1993 D.C. AIDS Walk and they lived together until 2000. As the relationship wound down, so did her enthusiasm for 18-20 hour days tending to what her followers lovingly dubbed, “Mary Ann’s Munchmobile.” She downscaled the operation and set up small storefronts; grilling everything on-site and serving juice, coffee, fruit, veggies, and full dinners. It was during this time that she earned her real estate license in D.C. and Maryland. She fed hundreds of people from 6 a.m. ‘til 2 p.m., then sold houses ‘til dark.
Around ’03 she moved to Myrtle Beach, lasting only about a year-and-a-half (for reasons that would be obvious to anybody who had ever been there). In ’05, she was invited to rent a townhouse in Rehoboth Beach, and she realized she was finally home. She got her real estate license and settled in. She met a woman in ’08, and they lived together for a while and are still friends to this day.
Mary Ann is a Realtor for Maggio Shields and spends the rest of her time working tirelessly for her favorite cause, the Lewes/Rehoboth Meals on Wheels. Not only does she actually deliver the hot meals to many deserving Delaware seniors, but she organized a dance-a-thon by lobbying churches, schools, corporate sponsors, and even professional dance troupes to donate or perform. The most recent event was held in the auditorium of the new Epworth United Methodist Church, of which she is a member.
Her employers and friends Joe Maggio and Bill Shields donate the facilities of Aqua Grill and provide the food for an annual Spaghetti Dinner— complete with entertainment by Viki Dee—organized by Slinkman to benefit Meals on Wheels. She serves on the board of directors and is the prime mover behind the Rehoboth Beach Country Club golf tournament that raised $43,000 for her cause.
Slinkman, who donates 5% of her real estate commissions to Meals on Wheels, was nominated for The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award of Delaware; winning it in 2008.
I’ll give Mary Ann the last word. “Seniors are forgotten. I love kids, but there are tons of programs for kids. Americans forget their seniors.” Rolling her eyes, she smiles, “I’ll be there soon, and I want somebody to be there for me.”
Bob Yesbek is a Rehoboth Beach resident. Email Bob Yesbek