Food First: Expanding the Capacity of our Network Partners
We know there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing hunger, and part of our mission moving forward is to work with our network partners to identify and deploy effective strategies that will help alleviate hunger in their neighborhoods.
Our network partners — food pantries, meal programs, shelters, and other community organizations — are passionate about their work and committed to making their communities better and stronger.
As a part of our 40th Anniversary celebration, we are pleased to announce the Food First Grant Program, designed to help strengthen our partner network.
“Our network partners have a difficult and demanding job,” said MFB President & CEO Carmen Del Guercio. “We want to ensure they are able to have an even greater impact and help more Marylanders become food secure. To do so, they need additional resources and we are proud to be able to provide this much-needed assistance.”
The grant money will be used for a variety of capacity-building projects aimed at increasing the amount of food partners distribute, expanding their service hours, transporting and handling perishable foods, and providing additional services to help clients address the root causes of hunger.
The inaugural grants were awarded to seven “Strategic” and “Core” partners, organizations that provide leadership within the network by mentoring other partners, offer wrap-around client services, and/or work closely with us to achieve the Maryland Food Bank’s strategic objectives. These partners span the state from Hagerstown in Western Maryland, to Baltimore City, and Caroline County on the Eastern Shore:
- Fishes and Loaves, Baltimore City – Shelving & Cold Storage
- Frederick Rescue Mission, Frederick County – Skid Loader
- Howard County Food Bank, Howard County – Computers & Software
- St. Martins Eastern Shore, Caroline County – Cargo Van
- City of Refuge, Baltimore City – Refrigerated Truck
- Living Waters Assembly, Caroline County – Refrigerated Truck & Shelving
- Salvation Army Hagerstown, Washington County – Warming Cabinet & Trays
“With this funding, we will be able to organize our storage room, which means we can track our inventory much better,” said Rev. Andre Samuels, Fishes and Loaves. “We’re also able to replace our ten-year-old computer — which means no more freeze-ups when we give out food — that is certainly going to make things better for the 100 people per day that we serve.”
Or work in strengthening our partner network is far from over. Later in 2019, we will award a second series Food First grants to more partners. As a part of our ongoing mission, we will seek to raise additional funds to continue build out network capacity to meet the need.
“When it comes to ending hunger, we know that we have to be agile and adapt to local needs. Part of our mission is to strategically work with our partners to deploy effective local solutions to end hunger in Maryland for more people tomorrow than we are today.” Del Guercio said.
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