Volunteers in communities in Maryland have taken it upon themselves to meet the growing need for food. Even though the city government has expanded services. In fact, the neighborhood leaders many of which have been feeding people for many years. Now, they have found themselves working harder to give away more food.
Not being a new issue in Baltimore is food insecurity. Yet the spread of COVID-19 with schools shut down and jobs lost has created major intensification of this problem. A non-profit hunger-relief organization, The Maryland Food Bank, saw its distribution rate increase by 96% from last year’s rate between March and October. In fact, it spent $17.5 million dollars on food in that period. It is a 371% increase compared to last year.
The number of Baltimoreans receiving aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program rose 22% between the start of the pandemic in March and August, city officials said.
Unfortunately, now there are fewer opportunities for people to get a good meal, said Carolyn Anewich. Anewich is the spreadhead of Soul Kitchen. In fact, there are so many, many people that need a good meal.
On Saturdays, on the sidewalk outside First Mount Calvary Baptist Church, there are volunteers who stacked up cardboard boxes filled with produce, from apples to squash. The boxes are strewn across a strip of folding tables. Many people take food home. They arrive in cars or on foot. Therefore, no one has turned away.
The church has served hot meals from its soup kitchen once a week and distributed produce boxes once a month. This occurred before the pandemic. Lunches three times a week, hot meals once a week plus produce boxes on two days, the Sandtown church hands out food six days a week.