Maryland Food Bank pandemic grant set to end this week

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BALTIMORE — The Maryland Food Bank (MFB) has been a great resource for people during the pandemic. Thanks to them, the organization has been able to feed many communities through grants, but now that grant program may end.

On December 31, the Maryland Food Bank will end a grant program that provided at least $40 million worth of food to Marylanders.

Called Food to Network, the grant helped many local organizations and covered most of the nonprofit’s food costs to help families during the pandemic.

Businesses like We Our Us, Baltimore Youth Coalition and 4mycity say the pandemic may be over, but people are still feeling its effects.

Ken Parker, food director at We Our Us, said, “Everybody is hurting badly. It’s ridiculous to spend this time especially. Taking this away is like taking food off people’s tables.” It’s something,” he said.

“We appreciate all that the Maryland Food Bank has done, but all we are doing is trying to call attention to this…we want it to end soon.” No. We have families in need,” said Darren Badiro, a mentor with the Baltimore Youth Federation.

Advocates have expressed how food worries can drive people to commit more crime.

“You can’t make a difference if you cut off the opportunity for people to get what they need. What are you going to ask them to do if they can’t get what they need? I’m asking you to go out and do what you have to do to keep your family going,” Parker said.

4MyCity Executive Christopher Dipnarine said: Church support, but other pantries may not. As a pantry we are limited. Currently our pantry is run entirely by volunteers. is not an easy task, and the Food to Network grant program has made it easier for us.

MFB sent the following statement to WMAR 2 News:

On December 31, the Maryland Food Bank will end a pandemic-funded program that has provided an estimated $40 million worth of food to Maryland communities through a statewide network of more than 300 local organizations.

Over the past 2.5 years, food donations have declined dramatically. Thanks to federal pandemic relief funds and generous private donations, the Maryland Food Bank was able to fully cover the cost of all food despite historically purchasing and distributing large amounts of food. rice field. Starting in 2020, the cost of food distributed statewide by the Maryland Food Bank will be approximately $40 million. A program of this magnitude is beyond what a food bank can sustain. MFB estimates that in the last fiscal year he reported a loss of $8 million and this fiscal year he will end up with a loss of $10 million.

An extensive subsidy program called Food to the Network ends this week, but food banks will cover more partner costs than they did pre-pandemic. The organization only pays for the cost of the food purchased minus the cost of handling, distribution and storage. Production costs remain zero, and subsidies received by food banks also help cover the costs of food distribution.

Food banks notified partner organizations of this change several months ago. To offset this impact, the MFB has increased its budget for grants to local organizations from $2 million to $3 million, advocating for additional financial support. MFB is actively expanding federal merchandise and contract expansion programs to fill potential gaps in food distribution, and is also providing training to networks on how to raise additional funding.

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