Making An Impact At Every Level
There are many hunger-relief organizations in Maryland, and each agency plays a different role. Some focus on education and awareness, some on hunger-related policy, and still others on directly serving a specific community. So what sets the Maryland Food Bank apart? We do all of this, and so much more.
The food bank is the only organization in the state that is capable of putting millions of meals on the tables of struggling families each and every month. More than half a million individuals rely on our distribution network for food; and if our impact was taken out of the equation, food-insecure Marylanders would lose access to hundreds of thousands of meals we channel into communities every single day.
What many people don’t realize, however, is that the food bank’s influence reaches well beyond our ability to distribute food to households in need.
Leveraging a Shared Vision
At its core, the Maryland Food Bank is driven by the understanding that, while we are feeding people today, we must also create a future where hunger does not hold us back; a future in which every Marylander can succeed, be healthy, and reach their full potential.
Over the years, Maryland businesses, individuals, and legislators alike have had the opportunity to see what happens to a community when food is made available to struggling families.
The idea of ending hunger in Maryland today is no longer a pipedream, but rather, a goal that is limited by funding and public support. Every day, we are working to change that calculus.
Exerting Our Influence
- Maryland State Government: Maryland’s elected leaders invest in the food bank because they believe in the effectiveness of our programs and understand the breadth of our reach. State funding allows us to work with local farmers to grow fresh produce that is then distributed to food-insecure communities across Maryland. We also work with government departments to administer state and federal feeding programs to families, children, and seniors, and we help low-income Marylanders apply for and receive federal benefits through various programs.
- The Private Sector: Many of our food donations come from retailers, wholesalers, and local farmers. The businesses come to understand that, by supporting the Maryland Food Bank, they are putting food on the tables of people who need it — perhaps even their employees and customers. Partnering with the food bank changes business practices and deepens engagement with the community. Meanwhile, the low-income communities we serve are benefiting from a steady uptick of donated frozen meats, fresh produce, and other nutritious staples that are typically unavailable in food deserts.
- Our Partner Network: Without the Maryland Food Bank, there is no unified hunger-relief network in Maryland. We nurture, train, and provide food to about 1,250 community partners — including food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, and schools. Through this collaborative effort, we can effectively distribute food in hundreds of communities statewide. But even more important, perhaps, is that the food bank enhances thousands of local food pantries and feeding programs, ultimately strengthening every community and laying the groundwork for long-term progress.
- Individuals: The Maryland Food Bank works tirelessly to inspire, educate, and engage individual Marylanders to join the movement against hunger. We rely on our supporters to help us spread awareness and create a shift in the way Marylanders everywhere view the issue of food insecurity. We are building a social movement, and it is absolutely critical to our collective future that it succeeds. This is your opportunity to be a part of historic change in Maryland.
More than Just a Meal
Today, the food bank’s impact goes beyond our power to move food from one place to another.
On a macro level, our impact hinges on our ability to unify private agencies and public support to make access to food a priority in our state; and on a micro level, our impact translates to the meal that made it to the table of a working family — or a grandparent, or a neighbor, or a child — who would have otherwise gone without nourishment today.
At almost every touch point in our work, we are reminded that food is more than just a meal. Even in some of the bleakest situations, a good meal can provide strength of spirit to a struggling individual; it can give a community a reason to gather; it can set the stage for a shared family moment.
These are the intangible impacts of our work — of your donations. And to this end, we rely on people like you — individuals who fully understand the importance of providing food to every food-insecure person in our state.
“We simply cannot expect individuals to rise above the challenges that are present in so many communities without first providing them nourishment,” said Maryland Food Bank President & CEO Beth Martino. “Addressing the issue of hunger requires more than just the physical resources; it requires a collective will and someone to lead the charge.”
“We are leading that charge. And with your support we will create a future in which no Marylander is held back by hunger.”
This story originally appeared in our Winter 2016 newsletter.
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