With 1 in 9 Marylanders facing food insecurity, chances are, hunger has touched someone you know. But hunger is much more than a number, it is a complex social issue with many causes and far-reaching consequences. Only when we have a complete understanding of what hunger means and how it truly impacts Marylanders can we realistically find the solution to end it.
food insecure people in Maryland
Addressing Hunger in Maryland
The Maryland Food Bank seeks to diminish the immediate effects of hunger, while helping Marylanders build long-term paths to self-sufficiency.
Learn about Maryland Food Bank programs that fight hunger where it takes root, in neighborhoods and communities from Cumberland to Cambridge.
Meet a few of the people who benefit from our programs and efforts, and see if you recognize the real face of hunger in Maryland.
While the faces may change, the need remains constant. Get up to speed on the latest developments at the Maryland Food Bank and our efforts to combat hunger in Maryland.
The Face of Hunger in Maryland
By several measures, Maryland is considered a great place to live, one you might not expect hunger to be so widespread. While U.S. News recently ranked it as the wealthiest state in the country, one in every nine of us, including one in seven kids, suffer from food insecurity. Nearly a quarter of a million Marylanders, many of them children, face very low food security – a condition associated with progressive symptoms of starvation.
How is this possible?
With a cost of living higher than the national average, and wage growth stagnant while health care, child care, housing and other costs balloon, far too many Marylanders are forced to face tough choices on a regular basis: Rent or grocery shopping? Medicine or meals? Heat or eat?
The result is food insecurity, a way of looking at hunger that includes a more comprehensive view of the factors that influence the daily lives of Marylanders. The profile of food insecure households is evolving. Even though the economy is improving, the need for food assistance is shockingly stable, especially among children, seniors, and working families.
What can we do?
The Maryland Food Bank is working hard to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of food-insecure Marylanders have access to not only more food, but more nutritious food. We do this through a network of community partners that distribute the food that we purchase and receive from generous donors. We’re working to educate the public about the true the nature of hunger, to help reduce the stigma food-insecure households face, and to make it easier to ask for help.
We are Maryland’s Food Bank, and you are Maryland’s Food Bank. Together, we can end hunger in our state.
In 1979, our founder Ann Miller handed out frozen doughnuts to her hungry neighbors from her garage in Baltimore. Since then, we’ve evolved into the largest food assistance organization in the state, utilizing our wholesale purchasing power and a highly efficient distribution model to get more food, to more people as quickly as possible.
An area is said to be a “food desert” when the food options it contains (if any) offer limited nutritional value, such as fast food and convenience store fare rather than access to fresh produce and healthy proteins. Food deserts can contribute to a cycle of food insecurity.
The USDA defines “food insecurity” as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways. We define it as an unacceptable situation where individuals or households do not have the resources to provide enough food to allow for a healthy and active lifestyle.
Maryland Food Bank’s COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Efforts
As second responders, the Maryland Food Bank’s staff, volunteers, and our network of community partners - including the food distribution events that serve as an important source of food for many Marylanders - are considered essential, even during Governor Hogan’s stay-at-home order.
With the closure of schools and businesses, as well as social distancing, an increasing number of Marylanders are at risk of losing income and will look to our partners for help, putting a further strain on the safety net.
We have the experience, infrastructure, and expertise to help Maryland navigate through these difficult times, but it will require additional resources. You can help:
We’re packing 30lbs of nutritious foods into Back Up Boxes
Our wholesale purchasing power amplifies your monetary gift
We need 13-60-year-olds to help us sort and box food in Baltimore
Get updates on our progress in the fight against hunger
Want to see how your involvement directly impacts the well-being of your neighbors in need? Get the latest news sent to your inbox.