The Path to 61 Million Pounds
While news headlines paint a rosy picture about the economy and unemployment, the truth is things are not improving for our neighbors in need. We know all too well that paychecks are not rising with the cost of living and too many Marylanders still struggle to make ends meet. That’s why we need to do more.
We recently sat down with Rick Condon, MFB’s senior vice president of operations, to find out how we will reach this crucial milestone.
Q: Why increase the amount of food MFB distributes?
A: We know that we are not meeting the needs in some communities. Our own data on localized hunger, combined with research from the United Way’s ALICE Reports, clearly tells us that we have work to do in nearly every county. We’ve determined that we will need to increase our distribution from nearly 45 million, to 61 million pounds annually to better address the need.
Q: How will you find enough of the right food?
A: Thankfully, longtime food donors like Giant, Perdue, and McCormick continue to share our passion to end hunger for more Marylanders, but overall, we are seeing a reduction in donated food. We are continually seeking new partnerships to account for the fact that while we are ramping up the volume of food, we’re also talking to food donors about our nutrition policy and focusing on the nutritional quality of the food we distribute.
Q: What are some potential sources of more produce?
A: Last year, our Farm to Food Bank Program partners provided nearly one-third of the 9 million pounds of produce we distributed – that’s enough to provide 144 million servings to hungry Marylanders. This year, three new farm partners are adding their yields to the mix. Additionally, we’re exploring partnerships with importers at the Port of Baltimore who find themselves in need of a buyer, as well as looking at other states that specialize in produce varieties that Maryland farmers do not grow, but we can obtain cost-effectively.
Q: How about protein?
A: Protein is expensive, nutritious and often missing from the diets of food-insecure families, but we’re talking to protein producers in the state to try and change that. Also, Perdue is willing to significantly increase their donation of chicken if we can find a partner to break it down into family-sized portions for distribution.