Holiday Meals Mean More Than Ever in 2022 | Maryland Food Bank
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Holiday Meals Mean More Than Ever in 2022

December 19, 2022

“This offering from The Door is literally the difference between having Thanksgiving with my family, and next Thursday just being another day.”


Neighbor, Baltimore

Every day, millions of Marylanders feel the sting of food insecurity as it hinders their ability to thrive, and takes a painful toll on their physical, mental, and emotional health. That impact can feel even heavier at the holidays.

Thankfully, your support means that we can do more this time of year. It means that we can distribute tens of thousands of holiday meals—turkey and all the traditional trimmings—making the holidays a little bit brighter for our neighbors in need.

Neighbors like Char L. who was kind enough to share her thoughts on how hardships are affecting her family, during a late November visit to The Door’s food pantry in East Baltimore.

man stands on sidewalk with his cart to pickup holiday food

​Inflation Deflates the Holiday Spirit

“You want to know why I came to The Door Pantry today? Well, I’m here this morning because food has gotten so expensive. It’s unreal. I mean, who can afford to eat anymore. You can’t afford to do anything. It’s hard to pay any bills nowadays. Everything keeps going up and up and up.”

Char’s experience, unfortunately, is similar to many others that we’ve heard over the last few months. People who felt like they “did things the right way” but now are struggling due to forces out of their control. In November 2022, the percentage of Marylanders reporting that it was “difficult to pay for household expenses” rose  from 25% in Dec. 2021 to 37% in Nov. 2022.

“It sure doesn’t seem fair, especially for the people who did work. And I’ve worked since I was 13 to about three years ago. Now I’m 71 and trying to be retired. I do have social security, but I was a server for a long time, and they didn’t take out much from our tips, so now I get the bare minimum,” Char added.

Marylanders are encountering more hardships than at any other time in recent memory, but with you at our side, we have the resources to continue meet the needs of hungry neighbors.

“Because of The Door, I was able to enjoy a really good Thanksgiving with my family,” said Valerie W. “Between my three children, granddaughter and my son-in-law, we cooked turkey with rice and beans, made pasta, a nice salad and used the bananas for dessert! Thank you, Door pantry, and thank you Maryland Food Bank. We all got to forget about things for one day!”

Families like Valerie’s are finding the assistance from MFB partners like The Door very meaningful during the holidays and we’re so grateful that you help make that possible.

two volunteers help hand neighbor in red shirt various food items to her carts

Helping Alleviate Hardships at the Holidays

There is a clear and direct relationship between financial stability and food insecurity, a relationship we have known about for decades. But as inflation stagnates, so do Maryland families. It’s gotten to be such a challenge, that just last month, 1 in 3 Maryland families reported that their children were sometimes or often not eating enough because food was not affordable enough.

In Elkton, the Community Services Foundation’s Help Center is stemming this trend by being a reliable source of relief for families like Alex Y.’s.

“My livelihood was doing large-scale interactive installations for local events like conferences and festivals, while my wife stayed home with our children. But over the last few years, the budgets for many companies shrunk, which means my family’s budget shrank too.”

We met Alex on what was his third visit to the Help Center, in November.

“I’ve only been here a few times, but they already know me by name, which just makes it so much more comfortable,” Alex said. “We’ve had to make a lot of changes, and things are getting really tight at the end of the year. But the fact that my kids, my family, will have a regular Thanksgiving meal just means, well, it means just about everything right now.”

And for Kay Parker, visits to the Help Center have a deep, karmic meaning, especially at the holidays.

Following 15 years of teaching in the Cecil County Public School system, Kay decided to try her hand at real estate, but an unfortunate accident changed everything.

“One day, I was just walking down the steps of a house I was showing, when suddenly my legs seized up, and before I knew it, I was on the ground at the bottom of the steps, paralyzed with a broken neck.”

Even though she needs the help of a wheelchair to get around, Kay remains positive, and looks to inspire others at the holidays.

“Honey, one day you may be in my situation, and you, too, will be thankful there are people like this in the world,” she said. “I know a lot of people are hurting right now, but people have to get over their pride, and just get out there. I can’t do it by myself, and no one else should have to either!”

volunteer hugs a neighbor in her wheelchair

Sometimes, Even the Helpers Need Help

During that November distribution event, one of the people helping distribute food to her neighbors in Elkton described how volunteering was helping to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety she was feeling as a single mother, struggling with her own financial challenges.

“It’s hard these days, especially being a single mother. Seeing almost everything get more expensive really takes a toll on you. But I don’t want my daughter to feel those negative emotions, that’s why I come here. I can get food, and I can give back at the same time.”

The volunteer, who wished to remain anonymous, is far from alone in dealing with the emotional challenges of being food insecure—in fact, 91% of Marylanders reported higher levels of stress due to the increase of prices over the last two months.

masked volunteer in black coat hands neighbor a holiday box

Hunger After the Holidays

We’re thankful for people who help make sure all families can gather around a table and enjoy a holiday meal together, but in Maryland, hunger happens every day, not just during the holidays.

That’s why we are so grateful for every one of our supporters, from large organizations that underwrite entire programs, to individuals who donate $5. Your passion for our mission to feed people, strengthen communities, and end hunger for more Marylanders means that we can be here for our neighbors in need during the holiday season, and all year long.

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