TOWSON, Md. — It represented a crisis on top of a crisis.
Schools closed for COVID-19 cutting off children from their cafeterias and, in some instances, their only source of healthy meals.
The pandemic is now waning, but the need to feed hungry children has not.
“While summer is approaching and many kids are talking about there they’re going on vacation, where they’re going to have fun, where they’re going to be seeing their friends, other kids are thinking about what will they be eating,” said Baltimore County Del. Pat Young.
The number of children who rely upon free and reduced-price meals at school tells the story according to the executive director of No Kid Hungry Maryland, Kara Panowitz.
“That percentage is over 50 percent now in Baltimore County Public Schools, and people are really surprised to hear that,” noted Panowitz.
In a bid to better feed those children over the summer, Baltimore County is now prepared to buck up more than it had originally planned.
“We’ve learned the state did, in fact, have additional resources available and we are willing to match those locally,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “So today, we’re announcing that Baltimore County’s putting forward a total of $1.2 million of county general funds to combat child hunger over this summer.”
Last summer, the county provided healthy food for 10,000 students, and now it will be able to almost triple that number.
Families who are already registered in the SNAP program will automatically receive an additional $30 per month for each child over the summer on their electronic benefit transfer or EBT cards and an extra 10 bucks each during the holiday break in December.