Maryland Hunger Solutions joined with the Job Opportunities Task Force and Out for Justice to successfully advocate for the passage of state legislation that helped eliminate barriers to the Food Supplement Program (the Maryland name for SNAP/food stamps) for eligible formerly incarcerated Maryland residents, thereby addressing hunger, poverty, and recidivism.
Maryland Hunger Solutions successfully advocated for the state to provide a supplemental benefit for seniors 62 and older who participate in the Food Supplement Program, but only receive the minimum benefit. Instead of receiving the federal minimum of $15 a month, these Maryland seniors now receive $30.
Maryland Hunger Solutions championed the Hunger-Free Schools Act, allowing Maryland schools and school districts to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision without fear of losing state funding. Community eligibility allows high-poverty schools to offer both breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge The number of Maryland participating in community eligibility and offering meals free to all children soared from 23 schools to 277 within one year of the law’s passage.
Maryland Hunger Solutions successfully led efforts with advocacy partners to secure an additional $1.8 million in funding in the governor’s budget for Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA), a state-funded program that allows high-poverty schools to serve free breakfast in the classroom to all students.
Maryland Hunger Solutions partnered with AARP and the Maryland Department of Human Resources to conduct tele-town hall meetings with thousands of seniors across Maryland, and provide them with information about the Food Supplement Program, offer application assistance, and share resources.
Maryland Hunger Solutions successfully pushed for the Maryland Department of Human Resources to apply for federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) assistance for Maryland residents affected by Hurricane Sandy. A federal declaration was granted, and affected Eastern Shore residents were able to receive benefits.
Maryland Hunger Solutions monitored Maryland Department of Social Services offices and statewide clinics administering the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). By interviewing clients, gathering information on barriers to program participation, and seeking opportunities for policy improvements, Maryland Hunger Solutions advocated successfully to allow Maryland WIC participants to recertify for benefits annually, instead of every six months.
Maryland Hunger Solutions worked with the EBT/Farmers Market Advisory Committee and successfully piloted an effort for farmers’ markets in the Baltimore area to accept EBT, enabling thousands of Marylanders to use their Food Supplement Program benefits at farmers’ markets. The pilot also launched “Baltimore Bucks,” which provides clients of this program matching dollars to use at participating Baltimore-area farmers’ markets.
Maryland Hunger Solutions issued its first school breakfast report, which featured district data measuring school breakfast participation and recommended best practices to reduce barriers and increase school breakfast participation across the state.
Maryland Hunger Solutions became a state outreach partner with the Maryland Department of Human Resources to train local partners, share program information, and assist the public in applying for the Food Supplement Program.
The Food Research & Action Center created Maryland Hunger Solutions, a separately staffed and funded initiative to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland.