Montgomery County, Maryland, is establishing a new agency to ensure that children have access to food during these difficult financial times.
“What we know for certain is that 160,000 children in the state of Maryland, 40,000 of them right here in Montgomery County, are unsure where their next meal will come from.” – Montgomery County Council President Gabe Albornoz said during a news conference on Thursday.
The Montgomery County Council is establishing the Office of Food Systems Resilience in an effort to reduce food insecurity among county children. The office will report to the county executive and will act as a liaison to county administration and organizations in the area.
“According to the Capital Area Food Banks 2022 Hunger report, 46 percent of Montgomery County households with children experienced food insecurity at some point last year.” – Montgomery County Food Council’s Allison Schnitzer stated.
“Our purpose within the county is to bring county government resources to support charities.” We cannot fix this as a government. “To be honest, we’re newer in this arena than the nonprofits, and they’re already doing essential work,” said Earl Stoddard, the County’s assistant chief administration officer.
Council President @albornoz_gabe, Councilmembers Will Jawando and @MC_Council_Katz were joined by Montgomery County leaders & advocates to discuss holistic solutions to ending childhood hunger in our community, including the establishment of an Office of Food Systems Resilience. pic.twitter.com/haqYTrhl0O
— Montgomery Council (@MoCoCouncilMD) July 7, 2022
With growing grocery prices due to record high inflation and the loss of numerous pandemic-era safety nets, like as federally sponsored school meals and SNAP emergency allotments, a “hunger cliff” is imminent, according to Schnitzel.
“We know that more Montgomery County residents and children will face food insecurity,” she explained.
In addition to assisting county residents with food, the Office of Food Systems Resilience will seek to promote healthier options and address the underlying causes of food insecurity. They will also provide food policy advice to the county administration and council.
The law to establish the new office will have its final reading on July 12. A little more than $1 million has been set aside for the office in this year’s budget.