But official say more needs to be done.
The effort to combat hunger in Maryland is making some progress. The Maryland Food Bank says a recent study found that 11,870 individuals are described as food insecurity, including 7,640 children. That’s a lower number compared to a previous study.
Food insecurity means that these people have a difficult time obtaining nutritious food for themselves and their families. “The news is in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go,” says Mel Brennan, a vice president of the Maryland Food Bank.
Even though Maryland is considered a wealthy state, Brennan says there are still families which struggle to put food on the table. “Well, there’s no doubt that poverty, under employment, unemployment and cycles that are associated with that play a direct role in the ability of folks to maintain food security,” he said.
But Brennan says hunger is still a major problem in Maryland. “One in eight Marylanders are still hungry. And that’s one in eight Marylanders you pass every day because hunger knows no face. It knows no socio-economic class. It knows no race or ethnicity. And right now, our work is more crucial than ever,” he says.
The Maryland Food Bank says 39% of those who are food insecure make too much to qualify for federal or state relief, and relay on food banks.
The Maryland Food Bank provides donated food to members organizations such as churches, local food banks, shelters, food pantries and other non-profits around the state which work with those in need. The State Food Bank serves 21 counties in Maryland, including Frederick County.
On its website, the Maryland Food Bank says 42% of Frederick County residents who are hungry earn too much to quality for federal food programs, and 58% make below that threshold. 7.4% of Frederick County residents are food insecure, and it costs $3.02 for an average meal. The number of food insecure people is 17,700, and more than $9-million in additional funds is needed to meet local food needs, according to the Maryland Food Bank’s website.
Statewide, 750,000 people don’t have enough to eat.
Brennan says the Food Bank is always in need of donations, and volunteers to help out. For more information, go to www.mdfoodban.org.