ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County officials launched an interactive map for residents in need of food assistance. The map will show residents where they can find food pantries, free meals, groceries and more.

“No one should have to choose between paying rent or purchasing food for themselves or their family, and COVID-19 has forced many of our residents into unimaginable financial situations,” said Ball. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, more than 44,000 Howard County residents have filed for unemployment or pandemic assistance, it’s clear access to food and groceries is one of the most urgent needs our residents are facing.”

SEE: Howard County Food Distribution Map

“We’ve seen our community organizations, non-profits, and neighbors step-up to support one another, and we saw an opportunity to make it easier for folks to find what they need,” Ball added. “This map clearly shows the daily options for groceries, food pantries, and meal pickups, and will hopefully reduce the stress for many people trying to figure out where to find the resources they need.”

The listings include free meals for students through Howard County Public Schools as well as meals for older adults.

The interactive map is the fourth in a series of tools Ball has unveiled since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

HoCo Food Go was launched ten days after the stay-at-home order to connect residents with 190 restaurants and bars offering carry-out and delivery. Restaurants can be filtered by type, including deli, bakery, fast food, casual fast, casual contemporary, and traditional. Each restaurant description also includes information about carry out alcohol, dietary restrictions, and kids menus.

HoCo Farms Connect was launched in April to connect residents with the nearly 40 farms in Howard County that sell produce, meat, dairy and other products directly to customers. Residents can search for farms by the type of products that are available for purchase such as eggs, fruits, vegetables, chicken, pork, or community supported agriculture. Each farm description also includes information about the farm and store hours.

HoCo Donation Collection was created to direct residents and businesses to organizations that collect food, and other essential donations to distribute to the community in need. The online tool allows residents to find locations and organizations to drop-off product donations including groceries, toiletries, and cleaning products. There are 20 locations currently listed, and each listing includes a contact, hours for drop-off, and a list of needs.