ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — As unemployment numbers in Maryland skyrocket amid the coronavirus pandemic, many counties are looking at ways to keep their residents fed.
It’s a sign of the times at the Maryland Food Bank as teams of volunteers work to sort donated food.
“We have seen a doubling of demand for the food we distribute over the last three weeks,” Meg Kimmel, of the Maryland Food Bank, said.
On top of that, food donations are down nearly 90 percent, forcing them to purchase food in attempts to keep up with demand.
Kimmel said they’ll need $12 million dollars to make it through the next 90 days.
“We have already dipped into our organizational reserves, we’re obviously fundraising as much as we possibly can, but we’re gonna need everybody to join with us in this battle if we’re really going to be a resource to the state,” Kimmel said.
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Meantime, Baltimore County, one of the counties in Maryland hit hardest in terms of unemployment, is trying to be a resource for its residents.
“So many in our communities have lost jobs and find themselves facing food insecurities and other challenges,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said.
Starting Friday, Olszewski said the Maryland National Guard will help lead food distribution operations allowing them to increase their reach.
“This Saturday, we’re purchasing over 23,000 meals and will distribute them at 30 different sites across the county,” Olszewski said.
That’s three times more sites than last week, and are in addition to the midweek meal distributions.
“These are our latest steps, but they will not be our last,” Olszewski said.
In Baltimore City, a long line of people waited for food outside the recreation center at Patterson Park Thursday, one of nine recreation centers offering boxed meals with enough non-perishable food to feed a family of four. The line stretched almost half the length of the park before noon when the doors opened. Many in Maryland still have not gotten unemployment benefits and are worried about their next meal.