In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, food distribution has become a major means of relief for Calvert County families. This week, the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) signed agreements to provide $140,000 to the Maryland Food Bank to provide food for local families.
According to the Maryland Food Bank, the BOCC contribution is matched by an additional $106,268 from the state. The nonprofit organization End Hunger of Calvert County, Inc., will distribute the food to local food pantries and programs, which have been suffering from donation shortages.
“We are proud to be one of the first counties to make a commitment to the Maryland Food Bank as part of the relief effort,” said BOCC President Kelly McConkey. “We care deeply for the well-being of our citizens and hope the assistance can alleviate some of the strain the pandemic has put on families.”
With workers experiencing layoffs and reduced work hours as a result of the pandemic, ensuring local families have enough food is a major priority for the Calvert County Department of Community Resources. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, an estimated 1,250 Calvert County households are served at food pantries, 2,300 youth receive school meals or kid kits and 230 elderly or homebound residents are delivered meals each week.
“Our focus is laying the groundwork so we can meet the essential needs of Calvert’s most vulnerable for at least the next six months,” said Community Resources Director Jennifer Moreland. “We will continue to partner with local organizations and government agencies to secure resources to protect the health and safety of our citizens.”
The Maryland Food Bank estimates over the next 90 days, Calvert County pantries and food distributors will require an additional 463,702 pounds of food at an approximate cost of $360,000. This estimate is based on fiscal year 2020 purchases for local pantries and projections for demand growth.
This early commitment by the BOCC paves the way for future food support opportunities as well. The contribution can serve as matching funds for additional federal, state and nonprofit relief grants, as they become available, to provide additional assistance to Calvert County families.
To meet the growing need for access to food pantries, the Calvert County Department of Technology Services created an online map to help residents locate pantries in the county. The map is updated in real-time to ensure residents receive the most up-to-date information. Citizens can visit www.CalvertCountyMd.gov/FoodPantryMap to find a food pantry location and hours of operation.