Breaking Down Systemic Barriers with Food
Many of the people the Maryland Food Bank serves are members of communities of color. They have historically been and continue to be disproportionally affected by racial injustice and inequality, which create additional barriers to food security.
At Kingdom of Celebration in Anne Arundel county, site coordinator Randy Curtis is keenly aware of how these issues are affecting his community yet sees a hopeful opportunity for progress.
“The racial tension in the world, I think it’s brought the Anne Arundel community together. We have a stronger relationship with the police; they come to our distribution events, help keep it moving, hand out food,” said Randy.
During a recent drive-thru Pantry on the Go event at the church, we met Anita, who had not visited the food pantry at Kingdom of Celebration prior to the pandemic. She suffers from diabetes, which is twice as likely to strike women of color like Anita than her white neighbors.
“I’m supposed to watch what I eat, and they have a great variety of vegetables here,” Anita said.
But like many other Marylanders, COVID-19 has stretched her budget even thinner, making the food that she receives all the more important to her well-being.
“We worry about buying masks and cleaning supplies all the time now. We didn’t have to do all of that before. It’s extra money, it’s too much,” she added.
Twenty-three miles to the north at The Door pantry in Baltimore, former housecleaner Rosa D., finds relief for her family.
“With the virus, people got scared about people they don’t know coming into their homes to clean, so I have not been able to work in a long time,” she shared.
The combination of Rosa losing wages and her six children losing access to school meals has made providing for her family even more difficult, but the assistance she receives helps keep her kids’ bellies full of nutritious foods.
“The food here is really great. When I bring it home, I know my kids are going to just eat up all the produce, and now I can cook one of their favorites – spaghetti – for dinner tonight,” she added.
Anita and Rosa are just two Marylanders whose burdens are lessened by your willingness to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Throughout our Phase 2 response and beyond, we are working diligently to create programs and services that not only address the immediate issues of food insecurity, but the underlying systemic issues that cause it in disproportionate numbers in communities of color.
Words and images cannot completely express the level of gratitude your support deserves. We hope that hearing directly from some of the people you’ve helped throughout this crisis renews your dedication to working together and extending a hand to our neighbors who have lost their jobs, live in communities of color, or are homebound.
We Need Your Help
Programs, campaigns, and educational outreach at the Maryland Food Bank has always relied on the philanthropic support of charitable individuals like you.
Much like our food distribution efforts, outreach activities at the Maryland Food Bank rely on generous donations of money and time.
We hope you’ll consider a contribution.