Prior to the coronavirus epidemic, approximately one in four Baltimore City residents lacked access to good, healthy food. Now, with unemployment rising, food insecurity is affecting even more individuals. Add to that the fact that, more than 300,000 Maryland children rely on meals received during the school day to avoid going hungry. As schools closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, these children became even more vulnerable.
On a recent episode of The Upside, Lisa Budlow, CEO of CHAI and Lynne Kahn, Founder and Executive Director of Baltimore Hunger Project discussed how our community is addressing the needs of those who are food insecure.
During the pandemic, CHAI, which has traditionally focused on homeownership and economic stability, in Northwest Baltimore, suddenly found itself addressing food insecurity among the older adults who lived in its communities. As a result, they created new ways to provide food to this vulnerable demographic. As Lynne explains, Baltimore Hunger Project is dedicated to eliminating the growing problem of weekend childhood hunger for children who receive their meals at school, Monday through Friday. Without schools open, the hunger needs are even greater.
With the onset of coronavirus, problems that existed before are amplified, but so are our solutions. Organizations, community members and leaders are providing more assistance then we could have imagined.
CHAI’s ability to pivot is an example of how The Associated is changing as new needs are identified, while Baltimore Hunger Project’s voice became magnified in the process of ending food insecurity. This is an issue that will continue into the future, but our community is demonstrating how we are working together to combat this head-on.
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