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Allegany County has significant “food-insecure” population

May 4th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

Hundreds of thousands of food-insecure Marylanders are finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves and their families, according to Map the Meal Gap 2017, a new report released today by Feeding America. The study also revealed approximately 682,280 Marylanders (11.4 percent) are food-insecure, meaning they don’t have consistent access to food; 475,620 individuals (11.8 percent) reside in the area the Maryland Food Bank serves, which covers all of the state except for Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.*

 

The food budget shortfall, or the difference between how much a food-insecure individual earns and what they need to survive, is growing in part because of the increased average cost of a meal in Maryland. In one year, that cost rose from $2.94 to $3.03, a rate of increase nearly double the national average. This suggests that on average, a food-insecure Marylander would need an additional $929.76 a year to feed themselves at the same level as their more economically stable neighbors.

 

“Despite the economy showing signs of improvement, Marylanders who currently face hunger are falling further behind as they struggle to buy enough food to meet their needs,” said Maryland Food Bank President & CEO Carmen Del Guercio. “Food insecurity hinders people from achieving their full potential. It creates instability in our local communities, which is why we remain committed to making sure every Marylander has consistent access to healthy food.”

 

One individual relying on assistance is Michael M., who was interviewed as part of the food bank’s One Maryland campaign. Once the owner of a flourishing contracting business, Michael works multiple jobs, but is still unable to make ends meet. He is fully aware of the precarious nature of his situation, saying “I’m a step away from being homeless, and a step away from making it again.”

 

There are people just like Michael in each of the 22 jurisdictions the Maryland Food Bank serves*:

 

·         In Central/Southern Maryland (Anne Arundel, Baltimore City/County, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Harford, Howard, and St. Mary’s Counties), approximately 383,480 individuals are food insecure, many of whom face an average annual shortcoming of $983.32 in their food budget.

 

·         On the Eastern Shore (Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties), there are about 44,570 food-insecure individuals with a $982.80 food budget gap.

 

·         In Western Maryland (Allegany, Garrett, Frederick, and Washington Counties), approximately 47,570 people experience food insecurity and face an annual food budget shortfall of $942.50.

 

Map the Meal Gap 2017 is based on an analysis of statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available, in conjunction with food price data and analysis provided by Nielsen. To view the full Map the Meal Gap Report, visit www.mdfoodbank.org/map-the-meal-gap

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