202-640-1089, ext. 3039
Statement Attributable to Michael J. Wilson, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions
BALTIMORE — February 7, 2024 – Maryland Hunger Solutions is urging the General Assembly to enact legislation to reduce hunger and bolster the health and well-being of individuals and families across the state. In 2023, residents across the state felt the impacts of the ending of pandemic-era flexibilities and expansions, including the end of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Emergency Allotments (EAs) and a return to a tiered payment system for school meals. This year, we have an opportunity to make significant strides in ending hunger in Maryland.
- SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — State Supplement (HB 666/SB 35): Increasing the amount of the supplemental benefit that the state must provide from $40 to $95 to all age categories of SNAP participants. Increased SNAP benefits will help Marylanders have greater access to healthy, affordable food and will mitigate the effects of the hunger cliff experienced in 2023 with the expiration of SNAP EAs.
- Primary and Secondary Education – Breakfast and Lunch Programs —Universal Expansion (HB 696/SB 579): Altering the standards of the State Free Feeding Program, beginning in fiscal year 2025, to require that if a school participates in the federal School Breakfast Program or the National School Lunch Program, then each student in the school must be offered a meal at no cost to the student. Making free school meals for all a permanent reality for all Maryland students will support students’ academic success, health, and overall well-being. Providing free school meals also eliminates applications and school meal debt and reduces the stigma associated with a tiered payment system.
We recognize that the state of Maryland is facing budget challenges. We also recognize that hundreds of thousands of Marylanders are also facing economic challenges related to food insecurity. We look forward to working with the legislature to mitigate these challenges to address hunger and poverty in our state.
About Maryland Hunger Solutions
Maryland Hunger Solutions works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of Maryland residents. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.