The critical role the Western Maryland Food Bank plays in helping to fight our area’s hunger problems was spelled out clearly in our news story published Monday about the organization’s 30th anniversary.
Among our reporter’s findings were:
• More than 10,000 individuals are served each month.
• A summer backpack program assists more than 240 children in 11 school districts.
• Food bank volunteers log more than 9,000 hours a year.
This is only a glimpse of the widespread hunger problem we face. Other efforts like the Summer Lunch Box program — an ecumenical partnership of four local churches, Emmanuel Episcopal Parish, Our Lady of the Mountains Parish, First Presbyterian and Centre Street United Methodist Church — are vital to keeping our children fed during the summer months. Last year, nearly 20,000 meals were provided to 625 children over the summer.
Then there are ongoing efforts like that of the Union Rescue Mission, Interfaith Food Pantry, and St. Anthony Place at the SS. Peter & Paul Shrine. In June, for example, St. Anthony Place served 223 families; 430 adults, 229 children and 37 seniors. A total of 307 bags of food was provided to those in need.
The Western Maryland Food Bank serves as a hub in the local food network. As a member of the Feeding America National Food Bank Network and Maryland State Food Bank, the Western Maryland Food Bank distributes food to more than 100 member agencies, including interfaith food pantries, day care and after-school programs and feeding stations.
We applaud the food bank, its executive director, Diana Loar, and the many volunteers who make a tremendous effort to combat hunger.
If you want to know more about the food bank, or to become a volunteer or make a donation, visit the facility when it holds its 30th anniversary open house Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. at 816 Frederick St. in Cumberland. You can also visit the website www.wmdfoodbank.org.