By Jess Dubbs, Director of Marketing
The Maryland Food Bank is a non-profit organization leading the way to end hunger throughout the state of Maryland. With offices located in Baltimore, Salisbury and Hagerstown, they partner with 21 counties across the state to distribute food to the less fortunate.
Our mission is to lead the movement and nurture the belief that together we can improve the lives of Marylanders by ending hunger.
The programs they officer are designed to meet immediate needs, and through them they distribute more than 120,000 meals a day and nearly 44 million meals every year. The Maryland Food Bank also works to find long-term ways to reduce hunger statewide, and will continue those efforts until hunger ends. Let’s take a look at some of their programs:
Farm to Food Bank
Local farms across the state provide fresh, local produce to hungry Marylanders. Participating farmers can donate good, nutritious food while the team at the Food Bank will pick up the donations to make it easy. This fresh produce is distributed through soup kitchens, schools, pantries and shelters; and is currently the Food Bank’s primary source of fresh, donated produce.
For more information on the Farm to Food Bank program, download their fact sheet PDF.
Pantry on the Go
Offers direct transport of large amounts of food to people who have little access to other forms of hunger-relief through temporary food distribution sites, or mobile pantries. A typical mobile pantry location will feed about 200 families on average, but a large site can serve up to 2,000 families in a single day.
For more information on the Pantry on the Go program, download their fact sheet PDF.
Children in under-served communities can participate in after-school activities while also enjoying a nutritious meal. Activities include tutoring, arts and crafts, and sports and are hosted by community organizations in or near schools with 50 percent or more participation in the free or reduced-price meal program. This program ensures children have consistent access to healthy food, while keeping them happy and engaged after school so they can wake up ready to learn the next morning.
For more information on the Supper Clubs program, download their fact sheet PDF.
Outreach workers go directly into the community to help eligible Marylanders apply for SNAP benefits, formerly called food stamps. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is a federal government food-aid program. Eligible families receive a monthly stipend on a payment card and can be used to purchase food products at most food retailers.
For more information on the SNAP Outreach program, download their fact sheet PDF.
Joining with local schools, the Food Bank can provide vital nutrition to children and their families in a safe and comfortable environment. Typically these are open after school hours (and sometimes on weekends) where students and parents can access food to take home. Parents often volunteer which provides the added benefit of becoming more involved in their child’s education.
For more information on the School Pantry program, download their fact sheet PDF.
During the summer months, children who rely on free and reduced-price meals at school can continue to receive meals while school is not in session. This program provides breakfast and lunch as well as activities such as arts and crafts and sports.
For more information on the Summer Clubs program, download their fact sheet PDF.
These are just some of the great programs the Maryland Food Bank offers to help end hunger within local communities. We have served as a donation location during the Christmas holiday season at our Baltimore location where we collected non-perishable foods. We hope our efforts with this food drive to benefit the Maryland Food Bank each year will continue to grow so that we may support more local families in need.