New Feeding America Data Finds Food Insecurity in Maryland Persists After Great Recession

Over 665 thousand individuals in Maryland are food insecure, incluyding more than 205 thousand children.

BALTIMORE, MD.  According to Map the Meal Gap 2018, the latest report by Feeding America, approximately 665,420 individuals in the state of Maryland, including 205,890 children, are food insecure, or lack consistent access to enough food to support a healthy lifestyle.  These estimates have decreased from the last year’s study by 16,860 individuals and 14,120 kids, respectively, reflecting only a slight downtrend in statewide food insecurity, despite the economic recovery.

“While these numbers are promising, the incremental improvement shows how complex and challenging the fight against food insecurity really is,” said Maryland Food Bank President and CEO Carmen Del Guercio.  “We need to do more to continue making progress, including protecting and strengthening federal nutrition programs so people facing hunger have the essential food resources they need to feed themselves and their families.”

Map the Meal Gap 2018 also reveals that 39% of Maryland residents who are food insecure are likely ineligible for federal nutrition assistance under current program requirements, just as Congress looks at further restricting eligibility for these programs through the Farm Bill.  What’s more, the average cost of a meal in Maryland has increased from $3.03 per person per meal last year to $3.10, creating an additional obstacle for food-insecure Marylanders.

“We’ve known for some time that the high cost of living in Maryland combined with economic factors including stagnant wages contribute to the rate of food insecurity in this state,” Del Guercio added.

Luckily for the food bank, Marylanders statewide share this sentiment.  According to an MFB public perception poll release earlier this year, 93% of respondents want hunger to be eliminated, overwhelmingly agreeing with the state, “I would like Maryland to strive to be the kind of a state where hunger does not exist.”

In fact, Map the Meal Gap 2018 indicates that the level of need remains a significant issue for communities across each of the 22 jurisdictions the Maryland Food Bank serves.

In Western Maryland (Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington Counties) approximately 43,490 people experience food insecurity versus 47,570 individuals a year ago.