Innovation & Inspiration: Meeting the Need
By July 2020, most Marylanders had been sheltering in place for several months. Businesses were either closed or operating at an extremely limited capacity, forcing a historic number of our neighbors to face food insecurity.
In those early days, we were 100% focused on staying operational in a way that was safe and effective for our staff, our partners, and the millions of hungry Marylanders who needed us.
“COVID tore things apart in unimaginable ways, but the combination of the strength of our staff with the relationships we’ve worked so hard to develop and maintain over four decades made all the difference in providing stability to Maryland,” said Meg Kimmel, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer.
And you recognized our ability to help get Maryland families through this crisis. The early support we received was incredible. It gave us the flexibility to innovate and develop solutions to keep food flowing into local communities and keep critical programs like FoodWorks running.
“Stability is such a key aspect of FoodWorks for students, staff, and the community, so I’m really proud of the fact that not only did we maintain our successful workforce development program during the pandemic, but we actually expanded it — adding a second location in Baltimore City to offer more Marylanders pathways out of hunger.”
Also, we continued to strengthen our statewide network of more than 330 Network Partners, the knots that tie both the food assistance safety net and local communities together. Prior to the pandemic, we supplied the means for these partners to expand their capacity and increase services in their neighborhoods through the Partner Capacity Grant program, which provided the funds to purchase refrigerators, freezers, and vehicles, as well as larger quantities of food.
We are proud to have continued this program throughout FY21, ultimately dispensing more than $2.1 million in grants to Network Partners during this fiscal year.
And while one might think that simply rising to meet the need would be sufficient, your generosity gave us the space to actually increase the amount of nutritious food our partners distribute in communities statewide.
“While some might see the fact that food donations dropped significantly during the pandemic as yet another barrier, we actually took advantage of the opportunity to be more intentional in our food acquisition,” said Nekeisia Booyer, MFB’s Senior VP of Programs. “Due to the strong financial support we received, we were able to purchase more nutritious food and actually increase the amount of healthy food we provide by 125 percent!”
As protective measures expire, we know that making nutritious food accessible to our neighbors in need will be key to the state’s successful recovery. And we hope you’ll continue to help ensure that no Marylander has to worry about where their next meal might come from.
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