BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — Right now there are thousands of families in Baltimore County thinking about how they will fill their child’s stomach.
A local non-profit has been providing meals at schools for years and is ramping up their efforts to meet the increased need.
The student support network started because it’s founder Laurie Taylor-Mitchell saw a great need at her sons former school Loch Raven High School where 300 students were living in poverty.
“There are 51,000 living in severe poverty that attend Baltimore County Schools,” Taylor-Mitchell said. “About 44 percent of students.”
She and other volunteers distribute thousands of meals a year to families.
During the COVID-19 crisis hunger and food insecurity is growing and they’ve ramped up their efforts to meet it while safely distributing the food.
“We’re practicing social distancing, we’re wearing masks and gloves. We’re even going to have next week a monitor, the only thing that volunteer does is watch all the other volunteers and the recipients and make sure everyone is practicing social distancing.”
The non profit got a huge boost from Rob Santoni Jr., the manager of the Weis in Fullerton Plaza.
Santoni Jr. said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olzsewski reached out and asked if he could donate paper bags to help the student Supply Network and Weis decided to do much more.
“Their last Pick-Up session they ran out and their was still hundreds of people that needed essential supplies and it was rather heartbreaking,” said Santoni Jr. “Especially in the industry we’re in. We have immediate access to these items that these students and family needed. It was great that Weis recognizes that and extended $5000 in $20 gift cards.”
Taylor-Mitchell says the thousands of dollars in gift cards they send to school staff to distribute to families greatly reduces the risk of exposure and allows families to have exactly what they need delivered to them from the store.
“Students and families can get exactly what they need. It’s one thing to have a food distribution and you get a bag of food. They are also running out of a lot of other things like toilet paper, paper towels, household essentials, shampoo, toothpaste.”
Neighbors distancing themselves as much as possible while still showing how close they are to their hearts.
To help the Student Support Group feed more families click here.