More Marylanders rely on food aid, says Maryland Food Bank

The number of Marylanders dependent on local food aid grew 21 percent between March and May, while the cost of food increased due to inflation.

That’s according to a recent analysis by the Maryland Food Bank, which says it needs continued support because the current “situation is as challenging now as it was during the pandemic.”

MFB President & CEO Carmen Del Guercio said in a statement:

Maryland was one of the most expensive places to live in the US before the pandemic, and now inflation and rising costs are making things worse for everyone, including the Maryland Food Bank. We buy more food than ever, and with food and fuel costs rising, the situation is now as challenging as it was during the pandemic.

The Food Bank’s latest budget is bracing for an 18 percent increase in programming and food distribution costs.

The Bank plans to buy up to 25 million pounds of food in fiscal year 2023 at $0.88 per pound – more than double the amount and cost of food before the pandemic. (The bank bought an estimated 12 million pounds of food for $0.45 a pound before the pandemic.)

In preparation for the start of FY23, which began on July 1, MFB’s board of directors approved an annual food bank budget that forecasts a significant 18% increase in food distribution and programming costs in the previous fiscal year, even without take into account the costs of operating MFB’s four facilities.

As an example of the massive impact of rising costs, the food bank bought about 12 million pounds of food for £0.45 a pound before the pandemic. For FY23, the food bank plans to buy up to 25 million pounds of food at nearly double the cost of 0.88 per pound.

The number of people calling on the Food Bank’s network of food aid partners grew by 21 percent from March to May. Partner visits, 2-1-1 phone calls and online food searches also increased 30 percent during the same time.

The Food Bank will release more information about food insecurity trends in Maryland next week.

Del Guercio also said: “Despite the current economic environment, we are focusing our efforts on building an even stronger, more impactful food bank. But we will need continued support if we are to weather this economic headwind surrounding rising food and other business costs… Everyone is feeling the pinch right now, and the food bank is not immune to the same economic volatility. But the financial impact of these rising costs on our operations is huge, as most of the food we buy is distributed for free to our nationwide network of community partners.”

The Food Bank has distributed enough food to provide more than 97 million meals since March 2020 — a 75 percent increase from the same period before the pandemic began.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.