When the average monthly cost of groceries to feed a household is $1,166.40 [source], it’s no wonder that making three healthy meals a day is beyond the reach of so many Maryland families. And according to our Maryland Hunger Map, approximately two million Marylanders are at risk of food insecurity, which means one in three people may be forced to choose between putting food on the table or paying other bills.
At the Maryland Food Bank, we recognize that food alone will not solve hunger. We know that we must address the underlying root cause issues that stem from a lack of economic stability.
And if we are not doing the work in the trenches to address the very systems, policies, and practices that have trapped far too many Marylanders in generational cycles of poverty and food insecurity, we will never bring about meaningful change.
2022 Legislative Agenda
The Maryland Food Bank is proud to present our first ever Legislative Agenda for consideration before the Maryland General Assembly.
We developed the Agenda based on conversations with colleagues in the anti-hunger and anti-poverty spaces, data and analysis of our work, and 43 years of expertise.
Support for Advocacy
*According to responses from our 2021 Public Perception Survey
Advocacy In Action
Anti-poverty efforts that address the root causes of hunger, including unstable housing, lack of transportation options, and inadequate health care, must be a focus of ending food insecurity in Maryland.
We regularly meet with local, state, and federal policymakers to share current data about food insecurity and personal stories of hunger while seeking support and partnership to help end hunger for more Marylanders.
For example, our own research shows that federal pandemic benefits decreased demand for food assistance, so we’re elevating the issue of how expanded eligibility and continuation of other assistance benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit can directly benefit food-insecure Marylanders and spur economic activity in local communities with these officials.
Find out more about how we’re engaging the Maryland General Assembly in conversations about how public benefits, supporting the food assistance safety net, stabilizing Maryland’s food system, strengthening economic stability, and eliminating barriers to food security lift up our entire state.
As a government official, something that we do well is we can take money and we can put it here and put it there, but if you don’t have a partner who can operate the logistics, who can turn that check into needed resources, then you’re not able to be functional in meeting people’s needs.
Delegate Shaneka Henson
Delegate, Legislative District 30A and Maryland Food Bank board member
Contact Your Officials
Your voice is powerful!
It is the job of elected officials in Maryland to represent the interests of people living in their communities, and make decisions on policies that impact our way of life.
Make sure that our elected officials know that you care deeply about food insecurity and the negative impact it has on all of us.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and government programs that provide meals to children both when they’re in and out of school, are crucial for helping ease hunger in the state. Marylanders need adequate and sustainable food assistance benefits like SNAP, which can ease some of the tough choices households have to make. SNAP also strengthens local communities — every $1 a household receives in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in economic activity!
We’re also leveraging our relationships with other agencies to provide social support (like utility assistance, childcare, health care, housing, and legal services) to address root causes.
Government officials are not the only ones with the ability to effect change. Maryland has a rich agricultural history, and as the Maryland Food Bank acts as the anchor to the majority of food assistance activity throughout the state, the stability of the food assistance safety net in Maryland is therefore central to our advocacy work.
This includes supporting the farmers in our Farm to Food Bank Program, who provide fresh produce to more than 330 Network Partners statewide that distribute healthy food directly to food-insecure Marylanders. Ensuring that a strong food system can operate efficiently and with the resources it needs is a top priority for the food bank.
Ensuring that all Marylanders have consistent access to nutritious food is only part of our strategic efforts to improve the lives of Marylanders. True change means opening more pathways out of hunger and helping our neighbors in need achieve economic stability. One way we are addressing this is through FoodWorks, our culinary workforce development program that provides the necessary tools and supports to help Marylanders enter and stay employed in positions that pay a living wage.
For more than ten years, FoodWorks in Baltimore County has produced graduates that are thriving in the hospitality industry. We’ve recently expanded FoodWorks statewide, adding locations in Baltimore City and on the Eastern Shore.
As long as there is hunger in Maryland, we will advocate on behalf of Marylanders experiencing it.
Thank you Maryland Food Bank for making sure people in Baltimore County who are food insecure, many for the first time, have meals to provide for their families.
John Olszewski, Jr.
Baltimore County Executive (May 15, 2020)
Latest Advocacy News
This report presents a more complete picture of what it means to be food insecure in Maryland. It reviews and interprets available data sets from various resources to better understand how wages, housing, and other indicators of hardship (aka “root causes”) interconnect and ultimately manifest in the form of food insecurity.
As COVID-19 opened the eyes of many to the prevalence of food insecurity among our neighbors, it also brought increased understanding of the growing need for on-campus pantries at colleges across Maryland to help meet the growing need for food assistance.
Spurred by lessons learned during the pandemic, we’re committed to building on our already successful Farm to Food Bank Program by supporting efforts that make agricultural systems more resilient in times of uncertainty, get farmed food to those most in need more efficiently by strengthening supply chains, and helping state school districts purchase Maryland produce at a reduced price.