410-528-0021, ext. 3018
Statement attributed to Michael J. Wilson, director, Maryland Hunger Solutions
BALTIMORE, September 11, 2020 – Maryland’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation reached historic levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Maryland Department of Human Resources reports about 844,933 Marylanders were SNAP participants as of June 2020.
SNAP, the first line of defense against hunger, played a critical role in putting food on the table while stimulating the local economy. While not as visible as the lines of people at the food banks or meal pickup locations, there are long invisible lines of people applying for SNAP in every corner of our state.
Previously, there were only 591,474 SNAP recipients in the state of Maryland before the onslaught of nationwide closures of schools and nonessential businesses. The additional 250,000 participants – a whopping 42 percent increase — is an acknowledgment of the economic challenges that hundreds of thousands continue to experience due to the economic fallout of COVID-19. Maryland may be the wealthiest state in the nation, but not all Marylanders are sharing in the prosperity.
Food hardship affects people in every community, yet it often goes unseen. It even hides behind the stoic faces of parents who skip meals in order to feed their children. Families should not have to choose between groceries and paying their mortgage.
We need a comprehensive solution, not an inadequate “skinny” relief package that fails to provide food assistance, rental assistance and state fiscal relief. Our federal lawmakers must go back to the drawing board immediately to craft and enact additional emergency relief that leverages SNAP’s effectiveness. If not, Marylanders will see higher rates of hunger and poverty, and we will continue to set records.
Maryland Hunger Solutions works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland.