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State Delegate Brooke E. Lierman Awarded Legislator of the Year
ANNAPOLIS, MD., October 25, 2017 — Maryland Hunger Solutions (MDHS) presented awards to outstanding leaders and organizations committed to ending hunger and poverty in the state on Tuesday at the seventh annual Fighting Hunger in Maryland: Food for Thought conference. The honorees were recognized before an audience of more than 130 anti-hunger leaders from state and local agencies, schools, and nonprofits across Maryland. Attendees came together in Annapolis to examine the root causes of hunger and identify ways to promote equity in food access and nutrition throughout Maryland.
State Delegate Brooke E. Lierman (Baltimore City, District 46) received the Legislator of the Year Award (pictured, left, with Michael J. Wilson, director of MDHS). Delegate Lierman helped lead the effort to increase the minimum SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefit for seniors from $16 a month to $30 a month. She also helped change state law so that returning citizens who are eligible for SNAP can now access these benefits to help rebuild their lives.
“There is no excuse for children or seniors — or anyone in between — to be struggling with hunger in Maryland today. It has been an honor to work with groups like Maryland Hunger Solutions and with residents around the state to make sure that our state government is responsive to the basic needs of our most vulnerable residents,” said State Delegate Brooke E. Lierman. “I am proud of the progress we have made so far and pledge to keep working to ensure no Marylander is food insecure.”
Jeffrey Proulx, chief operating officer for Washington County Public Schools, received the School Official of the Year Award. As the former Food and Nutrition Director in Washington County, Proulx pioneered new delivery models for the Maryland Meals for Achievement program and created a novel mobile meal program for summer meals. He and his team also used the federal Community Eligibility Provision to increase the number of low-income children that receive school meals.
“Washington County is a huge supporter of meal programs for students. The community, the school system, and the Board of Education have fostered an environment that opened the door to innovative meal service models,” said Jeff Proulx. “It has been my pleasure to lead a fantastic team focused on how to serve students ensuring students receive the daily nutrition they need to learn and thrive.”
The award for Community Group of the Year was presented to Critical Issues Forum: Advocacy for Social Justice, a group working to expand participation in anti-hunger programs in Montgomery County and across Maryland.
“We are extremely proud to receive this award in recognition of our efforts,” said Steven Mandel, co-chair, Critical Issues Forum: Advocacy for Social Justice. “The Critical Issues Forum will continue to partner with Maryland Hunger Solutions to advocate for the end of food insecurity in our community.”
Baltimore resident Ronald Bailey (pictured, right) received a special commendation. Bailey’s 2016 testimony before the Maryland General Assembly about the need to increase the minimum SNAP benefit for seniors was instrumental in getting the state law passed.
The annual conference is hosted by the Maryland Food Access and Nutrition Network (MFANN), a public-private partnership that includes federal, state, and local government agencies, and community and faith-based organizations. Maryland Hunger Solutions has chaired the coalition since 2007. MFANN’s goal is to improve access to healthy, affordable food and to increase participation in the federal nutrition programs. Kaiser Permanente, Giant Foods, Aldi, the American Dairy Association Northeast, and Wakefern Food Corporation provided support for the event.
About Maryland Hunger Solutions
Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research & Action Center, works to end hunger throughout the state of Maryland.