Based on median income, Maryland is the richest state in the country. And still, within the Maryland Food Banks' service area, one in seven individuals report experiencing hunger. More than 780,000 Marylanders, including 250,000 children, are currently food insecure — lacking consistent access to sufficient amounts of nutritious food.
Eastern Shore farmers, volunteer groups and local law enforcement officers are taking action to help end hunger.
Farms and gleaners help by participating in the Farm to Food Bank program, donating excess crops to the Maryland Food Bank, allowing minimum-custody offenders to conduct final sweep gleanings of fields in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Corrections, or by allowing the Maryland Food Bank to grow most-needed fruits and vegetables on a portion of land.
Farms participating in the Farm to Food Bank program locally include Mason Farms Produce in Ruthsburg, Godfrey's Vegetable Farm in Sudlersville, Lowery's Produce in Stevensville, Jacob D. Lovett Produce in Worton and Arnold Farms in Chestertown.
As part of the Farm to Food Bank Bank program, Amy Cawley, food solicitor for the Food Bank, along with a handful of volunteers helped to pick 3,116 pounds of corn from Mason Farms Produce, 1905 Ruthsburg Road, for the Maryland Food Bank on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
The total weight of food collected amounts to 2,397 meals, or just under 600 meals for an average family of four, said Jennifer Small, managing director for the Maryland Food Bank Eastern Shore.
Through the process the farm has donated 23,260 pounds of corn so far this year, Cawley said.
That's just one local effort.
In September, Maryland State Police is partnering with Maryland Food Bank for Hunger Action Month. Each of the 22 barracks throughout the state will collect food donations. Donations in Queen Anne's County can be dropped off at the Centreville barracks, 311 Safety Drive. At the end of the month, a food caravan will transport the collected items to the Maryland Food Bank in Baltimore.
Get involved to help end hunger. Volunteers are still needed to help harvest corn. Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact Amy Cawley by calling or texting, 443-735-0757, or by emailing, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're able, make a donation to the MSP food drive. Items requested include: canned meat, ham and chicken, peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, canned stews, canned tuna, salmon and sardines, nuts and seeds, dried canned beans, oatmeal, breakfast cereal, rice and rice cakes, pasta, canned fruits and juices, canned vegetables, canned soups, sauces and salad dressings, evaporated milk, powdered milk, infant formula and pudding and custards.
A number of our local churches run food pantries, and all would welcome the donation of time, money or food. Take action to stop hunger today.