On Thursday, many of us will sit down to tables overflowing with
food. Over turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes, we’ll give thanks before eating our fill of a meal prepared with love.
But I can’t be the only one who is struck by the contrast between the plenty at my table and the lack of food on the tables of others. Throughout the nation and here in Southern Maryland, many families don’t have enough to eat on Thanksgiving and every day.
That’s why local food pantries and food drives matter. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 11.8 percent of households in the United States – that’s 15 million households – were food insecure in 2017, the most recent year for which data was available. Being “food insecure” means that at some points during the year, the household was “uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of all their members because they had insufficient money or other resources for food.”
The USDA breaks down the “food insecure” category is broken
down further into “low food security” and “very low food security.” Low food security impacted 7.3 percent of U.S. households (9.3 million) in 2017. In this characterization, households got enough food for everyone by eating less, choosing a less varied diet, participating in assistance programs, or getting food from food pantries.
In “very low food security” households, the eating patterns of one or more family members was disrupted and they ate less during parts of the year because they didn’t have enough money or other resources for food, the USDA explains. This affects 4.5 percent – or, 5.8 million – of U.S. households.
Food insecurity also affects the children in those households. The USDA reported that in 8 percent of households with children under age 18, only the adults were food insecure. In 7.7 percent of households with kids under 18, both the kids and the adults were food insecure. An additional 0.7 percent of children – 250,000 kids nationwide – lived in a household were adults and one or more kids ate less because of very low food insecurity.
It’s easy to see, then, why food pantries and food banks put
out calls for help not just during the holidays but throughout the year. The truth is that while we’re all focused on giving and sharing our wealth during the holidays, food insecurity is a problem for many households for the whole year.
Whether you donate money, contribute food, or organize a food drive, I hope you’ll consider supporting local food banks here in Southern Maryland. Here’s a list of organizations in the region who are working hard to make sure people of all ages in Southern Maryland are fed.
Southern Maryland Food Pantries
There are too many food banks in Southern Maryland to list
here. The websites of these larger organizations will help you find a food pantry closer to home.
Southern Maryland Food Bank
This large organization is run by Catholic Charities of the
Archdiocese of Washington. It is a bulk food supplier, which means it collects food to distribute to food banks throughout the three Southern Maryland counties.
End Hunger in Calvert County
Founded in 2008, End Hunger in Calvert County maintains a
warehouse in Prince Frederick from which it distributes food to many food pantries in Calvert County. The organization also offers job training services and works to end the root causes of hunger in the county.
Find End Hunger in Calvert County’s list of food pantrieshere: http://www.endhungercalvert.org/partners-food-pantry/
Lifestyles of Maryland Foundation, Inc.
Lifestyle’s Samaritan Project is a food and clothing program
available to those in need.
Find Lifestyles of Maryland’s list of food pantries here: https://www.lifestylesofmd.org/samaritan-project-food-clothing
Maryland Food Bank
You can also use the searchable list at the Maryland Food Bank website to find local food pantries. Find the list here: https://www.mdfoodbank.org/need-food/.
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