In a testament to the ways in which community support can spark incredible change, Indian Head is about to witness, once again, the transformative power of collaboration.
The Wills Group has stepped forward with a remarkable $50,000 donation to support Oasis Fresh Foods Market, our new independent grocery store slated to open in 2024.
The donation comes through the Blackie Wills Community Leadership Fund, established in honor of Wills Group past President Julian Blacklock “Blackie” and his commitment to giving back to local communities. Oasis was selected because our new store and especially the Community Garden initiative aligns perfectly with and brings to life the Wills Group’s two signature philanthropic programs: Nourishing Children and Families and Reimagining Outdoor Spaces.
“The Wills Group is dedicated to providing essential food resources to residents in Indian Head, a longstanding food desert,” Blackie Wills said. “We are thankful to our employees and business and community partners for their support that enables the Wills Group to give back to local communities across the Mid-Atlantic region.”
Oasis Fresh Foods Market is aiming to be more than just a grocery store. It will also be an integral part of the community, which is a federally certified food desert. For over 20 years, Indian Head residents have grappled with limited access to fresh, healthy food options.
Oasis Fresh Foods Market is on a mission to change that narrative.
This new grocery store will be a vital community partner in Indian Head, providing essential food resources to a community long deprived of them. However, the impact doesn’t stop at the checkout counter.
The Community Garden, located in an open area behind the store, will be a place to gather and grow food, to revel in the serenity it creates. The Outdoor Living Company, also based in Indian Head has taken the lead in the planning and creation of our Community Garden.
The Wills Group operates a number of businesses across the Mid-Atlantic region, including Dash In, Splash In, and SMO Motor Fuels. The company has long been a beacon of philanthropy in Southern Maryland and beyond.
Since 2017, the Wills Group and its companies have raised more than $2 million in support of local and regional non-profit organizations and businesses across the Mid-Atlantic.
The $50,000 donation to Oasis Fresh Foods Market is a sign of their commitment to the well-being of Indian Head and its residents. As part of their support, the Wills Group also plans to coordinate opportunities for their employees to contribute their time and talent to help stand up the Community Garden. These contributions will help us fulfill our vision for the Community Garden, which includes:
- An outdoor garden labyrinth with native plants, herbs, and aromatic flowers that not only provide beauty but also sensory pleasure.
- Fruit trees lining the perimeter, featuring apple, pear, peach, and plum trees that will bear fresh, local fruits.
- 22 raised garden beds for residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables, putting the power of fresh, healthy produce directly in their hands.
- A water feature that adds a touch of tranquility to the area, offering soothing sounds and ambiance.
- A natural amphitheater that will host performances, yoga classes, and various community gatherings.
- Garden sculptures and art installations, providing a unique and creative space for all to enjoy.
“We are so grateful for this amazing donation and the incredible support from everyone at the Wills Group,” said Mark Steele, co-owner of Oasis Fresh Foods Market. “It’s wonderful how perfectly our project aligns with the Wills Group’s philanthropic goals, and we look forward to continuing to engage with them so they can see what their generosity has helped bring to Indian Head.”