Research & Reports | Maryland Food Bank

Research and Reports

Hunger in Maryland is a complex, multifaceted crisis, with deep, systemic social and economic roots. At the Maryland Food Bank, we realize that fighting food insecurity effectively and efficiently requires an evidence-based approach to its causes and solutions.

Here you will find a variety of original MFB research resources aimed at helping stakeholders and the public better understand and address the complexity of food insecurity in our state. We cover a wide range of topics, including food assistance needs, poverty data, program evaluations, client impact data, and food distribution trends and analysis.

We also help connect you to third-party databases and find food mapping initiatives from across the nation, as well as links to the best scholarly research and raw data sources.

It takes more than just goodwill to further our mission of ending hunger in Maryland. MFB’s new research program provides data-driven tools and high-quality information to fight food insecurity more intelligently and creatively than ever.

Strategy Group Research Report

Root Causes of Hunger

This report explores the root causes, or main drivers of hunger and food insecurity. It highlights how these hardships restrict Marylanders’ ability to thrive, forcing them to make difficult choices to try and close the gap between expenses and their budget.

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Root Causes of Hunger

This report explores the root causes, or main drivers of hunger and food insecurity. It highlights how these hardships restrict Marylanders’ ability to thrive, forcing them to make difficult choices to try and close the gap between expenses and their budget.

Strategy Group Research Report: Root Causes of Hunger

Executive Summary: Mobile Market Program Evaluation

Executive Summary: Mobile Market Program Evaluation

In March 2023, the MFB Strategy Group evaluated the food bank’s Mobile Market Program over a period of 12 months (Nov. 1, 2021 to Oct. 31, 2022) to assess its effectiveness and impact on neighbors in areas of high need. The evaluation found that Mobile Markets offer significant relief to Marylanders who may feel forced to purchase the least expensive and often less healthy food items in an effort to decrease household expenses. The complete report includes a detailed analysis of costs, benefits, community and neighbor impacts, and it is available upon request.

A Research Guide to Child Food Insufficiency

This guide provides an overview of available research on the Child Tax Credit Program, Child Food Insufficiency, Children Not Eating Enough (Unaffordability), and Child Food Assistance in Maryland. It was developed to help MFB constituents and the general public understand current trends in child hunger so that we can work together to better serve hungry children in our state.

Research Guide to Child Food Insufficiency

Workforce Development Partnerships Pilot Program

Workforce Development Partnerships Pilot Program

This report, a detailed landscape assessment of employment opportunities in Baltimore City, aims to guide the implementation of our Workforce Development (WFD) Partnerships Pilot program, which was created to build pathways out of hunger for Baltimore residents. The report analyzed sustainable jobs with rapid growth rates (IT, healthcare, and green jobs) that are unlikely to be replaced by automation, as well as potential WFD partner organizations. Also included in the report is an analysis of priority populations, including opportunity youth who are ideally suited for this program.

2021 Public Perceptions Survey

In late 2021, we commissioned this comprehensive assessment of perceptions and attitudes about hunger in Maryland, the third in a series that began in 2013. Through this latest survey, we sought to understand the public’s perceptions of hunger, their level of experience and personal contact with the problem, and their willingness and motivations to be engaged. Detailed findings are available upon request.

2021 Public Perception Survey

Do Pandemic Benefits Decrease Demand for Charitable Food?

Do Pandemic Benefits Decrease Demand for Charitable Food?

This report, prepared by MFB’s Vice President for Learning, Measurement, and Evaluation, Daniel Sturm, investigated whether the demandfor charitable food since March 2020 is associated with the availability (or lack thereof) of federal pandemic benefits. By comparing the timing of pandemic relief measures with MFB’s food distribution levels, our research clearly illustrates a correlation between the two across Maryland.

The Maryland Hunger Map

The Maryland Food Bank’s Hunger Map is a graphical tool to better understand how deeply rooted, persistent, and unique food insecurity is across different Maryland communities. This multi-layer map compiles multiple data points, including Feeding America, U.S. Census, and United Way’s ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) report.

With the help of this innovative tool, we’re able to get a more accurate picture —neighborhood by neighborhood — of what food insecurity really looks like in this state. And with that data, we can customize our strategies to help more Marylanders break free from the stubborn grip of hunger.

The Maryland Hunger Map

This resource is helping us do more for our neighbors, and we’re excited to have you explore the map to learn more about hunger.

Find Food Resources & Data

Maryland Food Bank Find Food Map

Need food? Enter your ZIP code to find food nearby.

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Maryland Department of Health and Human Resources

Directory of community food resources by region (PDF).

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Baltimore City Meals for Youth and Families

Food pantries, home delivery options, produce box distribution sites and schedules, SNAP benefit/enrollment information, and MFB’s Find Food Map.

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United Way of Central Maryland 211 Help Line

Find food and other helpful resources near you.

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Google Find Food Support

Find food banks, pantries, school lunch sites, and SNAP info.

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Maryland Attorney General’s Office – Food/Meals Help

Find information on SNAP assistance, food resources by region, and other nonprofits offering food assistance.

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Know of Others?

Know of another resource for finding food? Let us know.

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Think Tanks & Research Groups

Center on Budget and Priorities: Hardship Watch

CBPP is a nonpartisan research and policy institute that aims to reduce poverty and inequality. This page tracks key hardship indicators related to COVID-19.

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Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap Data

Annual estimates of overall and child food insecurity for every county and congressional district in the United States.

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Feeding America Racial Equity Data Hub

Feeding America’s dashboard highlights racial differences in poverty, median income, unemployment, homeownership, and disability.

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Food Action Resource Center

Improving the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions.

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Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future: Maryland Food System Map

The Maryland Food System Map combines an interactive mapping platform with food system, environmental, and public health data.

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Maryland Hunger Profiles

In November 2023, Maryland Hunger Solutions, an affiliate of the DC-based Food Research & Action Center, released snapshot info for all 24 Maryland jurisdictions. The fact sheets offer basic population statistics, breakdown by age, poverty data, median household income, number and percentage of students with access to free and reduced meals, and SNAP/WIC enrollment data.

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MEF Associates: Evaluation of Feeding America’s Ending Hunger Community of Practice

Logic model and measurement framework supporting Feeding America’s Ending Hunger Community of Practice (EHCOP) initiative.

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United for ALICE: Research Center: Maryland

The United for ALICE Study is the United Way’s realistic measure of a financial hardship, looking at costs of housing, childcare, food, transportation, and health care. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

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Urban Institute: Food and Nutrition

D.C.-based think tank with expertise in food, health and housing policy issues, program design, metrics, and impact evaluation.

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Raw Data Sources

Baltimore Neighborhoods Indicator Alliance (Jacob France Institute)

Vital Signs
Vital Signs provides indicators that “take the pulse” of Baltimore neighborhoods by measuring progress towards a better quality of life for all residents.

Maryland State Department of Education

School Report Card
Student achievement in all 24 Maryland school districts from year to year.

Urban Institute

Emergency Rental Assistance Priority Index
This index estimates the level of need in a census tract by measuring the prevalence of low-income renters who are at risk of experiencing housing instability and homelessness.

U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey

Food Scarcity
Percentage of adults in households where there was sometimes or often not enough to eat in the last seven days.

U.S. Census

2015-2019 Multi-Year American Community Survey, 5-year Estimates for All Geographies. Maryland Department of Planning
The American Community Survey (ACS) is a demographics survey program conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It gathers information such as ancestry, citizenship, educational attainment, income, language proficiency, migration, disability, employment, and housing characteristics.

U.S. Department of Labor

Unemployment Insurance Claims by ZIP Code
Regular Unemployment Insurance claims, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and Extended Benefits.

U.S. Small-area Life Expectancy Estimates Project (USALEEP)

Providing estimates of life expectancy at birth — the average number of years a person can expect to live — for most of the census tracts in the United States for the period 2010-2015.

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