When we think of food insecurity, it’s easy to let our minds wander to places far away – places plagued by war and natural disaster, or even closer in big cities that face higher rates of homelessness and poverty. But it’s actually right here in our own community – in fact many of us may have friends or family that have experienced food insecurity in some capacity in the last several years.
Last year, The Community Foundation of Frederick County received a larger number of grant applications related to food insecurity relief programs than we ever had before. This increase likely reflects the impacts of COVID-19 and the ongoing economic impacts felt by residents of our community. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Frederick County government to infuse $350,000 into food insecurity programs and initiatives in the coming year.
Dan Lewis, Deputy Director of Finance for Frederick County Government, said that over the course of the COVID-19 public health emergency, from inflation’s substantial impact on food prices to other areas of support being phased out, Frederick County has seen food insecurity as being a major hurdle to our community’s overall recovery.
“Food insecurity has a ripple effect on many other areas of an individual’s overall well-being,” Lewis said. “The USDA reports that food insecurity has a cyclical impact on an individual’s life, from health issues to increased health care costs, to financial insecurity. Addressing food insecurity will help break this cycle for many in our community.”
Food insecurity means it’s hard to get reliable access to a necessary amount of food that is both affordable and nutritious. It’s a complicated social issue with a variety of causes, but it often goes unnoticed because of what looks like an abundance of grocery stores and restaurants in our community. According to FeedingAmerica.org, the food insecurity rate in Frederick County in 2019 was just under 10% and that was before the pandemic.
The Maryland Food Bank reports that even though the economy is improving, the need for food assistance is shockingly stable, especially among children, seniors, and working families.
Many local organizations are committed to addressing food needs in Frederick County. With funds provided by Frederick County government and the federal American Rescue Plan Act, the Community Foundation is awarding grants to local nonprofits to assist with food insecurity initiatives.
The online grant application is open for the month of April and grant notifications will be announced in mid-June. Information and the application can be found at www.FrederickCountyGives.org/FoodInsecurity.
“The Community Foundation has seen first-hand not only the needs that exist in our community, but also the opportunities that exist to meet those needs and further support our community,” Lewis said. “Food insecurity has become a growing area of concern and this program and partnership aim at finding solutions within our community’s resources to address it head-on.”
Partnerships are critical to addressing the community’s most pressing needs, and for decades the Community Foundation has been committed to being a partner, a convener and a leader in understanding issues and finding solutions. We are proud to work hand-in-hand with both the generous donors and the dedicated nonprofits who collectively make change and impact possible in our thriving community.
*Published in The Frederick News-Post on 4/10/2023