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Maryland Food Bank nabs $492K to expand services

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Maryland's congressional delegation presented the Maryland Food Bank with a check for $492,000 to help the non-profit organization feed the growing number of Marylanders seeking its services. The funding for the Maryland Food Bank was included in the omnibus appropriations bill that was enacted into law in December 2009.

The Maryland Food Bank provides meals to approximately 44,600 Marylanders a week and 261,000 people a year. Since the economic downturn began in 2008, the Maryland Food Bank has reported a 30 to 50 percent increase in the demand for food. Many of its clients work fulltime and were considered middle class before the recession.

"In this recession, too many Marylanders have been faced with the difficult decision of whether to buy food or pay other bills such as rent, heat or health care," says Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. "The Maryland Food Bank provides a valuable service in helping to feed our state's hungry, and I am committed to ensuring they have the resources they need to carry out their mission."

The Maryland Food Bank, an affiliate of Feeding America, was founded in 1979 to coordinate the procurement and distribution of food donations from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government agencies to organizations providing free food to the state's hungry. It provides nearly 14 million pounds of food annually to 1,000 Network Partners -- including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, low-income day care centers, after-school programs, senior centers, rehabilitation centers, and other feeding programs.

"This funding couldn't have come at a better time when the fastest-growing segment of those in need is people who work fulltime and were considered middle-class before the economic recession," Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger says. "The Maryland Food Bank has been helping Maryland families get back on their feet for decades and this funding will now help them put a new roof over their own heads. I am proud to be a part of Team Maryland and will continue to fight to ensure Marylanders have the resources they need to weather this financial storm."

The Maryland Food Bank will use the funds to make improvements to its office spaces, install a new roof at the food bank's 87,000-square-foot distribution center in Baltimore, and other capital needs.

"The mission of the Maryland Food Bank is one of mercy," says Congressman Elijah Cummings. "That our land of plenty has citizens who go hungry is a national embarrassment. The Maryland Food Bank has done incredible work to fix this problem, and I am proud to help it continue that mission, in the words of its motto, until hunger ends."

Over the last 18 months, the Maryland Food Bank and its network of soup kitchens, food pantries and feeding programs have seen an increase in the demand for food of 30 50 percent. There has been an 11 percent increase in those accessing feeding programs serviced by the Maryland Food Bank over the last four years.

"In these difficult economic times, the Maryland Food Bank is playing a critical role providing food for the hungry," says Congressman John Sarbanes. "The Maryland Food Bank has been a lifeline for struggling families who didn't know where their next meal was going to come from."

"Because of the efforts of Senators Cardin and Mikulski and Representatives Sarbanes, Ruppersberger and Cummings, the Maryland Food Bank secured critical funding that will help us improve our operations so that we can get more food to more people in need," says Deborah Flateman, Maryland Food Bank CEO.

"We are building a movement to end hunger in Maryland while building a strong, effective organization that can meet the needs of those we serve," Flateman adds.

Source: Maryland Food Bank
Writer: Walaika Haskins 

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