USDA announces new initiatives to end hunger in America
ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 23, 2011)–Maryland is one of eight states that will receive federal assistance in the fight to end childhood hunger in America. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced a series of new initiatives aimed at helping communities increase food access by promoting coordination and partnerships between public, private and non-profit partners. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be investing $4.98 million in grants to 14 communities in eight states to end hunger and improve the nutrition of low-income Americans. Secretary Vilsack informed Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland’s grant award during an afternoon conference call.
“I’d like to thank Secretary Vilsack and President Obama for their leadership and commitment to ending childhood hunger even in tough times,” said Governor O’Malley. “These funds will help us protect our most vulnerable Marylanders. Together, with our federal partners, we can conduct outreach campaigns, raise awareness, and expand access to nutritious meals in and out of school.”
The 14 Grantees are located in New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Maryland. In September, the Maryland Partnership to End Childhood Hunger applied for a Hunger-Free Communities Grant through the USDA/Food Nutrition Service (FNS) in the amount of $923,812 over a two year period. The Governor’s Office for Children (GOC) will serve as lead agency on the grant, and will work with members of the Maryland Partnership to implement the proposed scope of work.
The grant includes eight counties in Maryland that were selected based on hunger assessments performed by the Partnership, which revealed that many at-risk children are not accessing the full range of available food and nutrition programs and resources. The eight focus counties are Allegany, Anne Arundel, Caroline, Carroll, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett and Montgomery. Maryland’s Hunger-Free Communities outreach program will focus on three areas: increasing access to and providing information regarding the Food Supplement Program, increasing participation in in-school and out-of-school time nutrition programs and expanding access to nutritious food for families with children. There are more than 152,000 children in Maryland living in poverty. An estimated 207,000 children do not have ready and reliable access to food.
In November of 2008, Governor Martin O’Malley established the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland with Share our Strength and GOC. The Maryland partnership includes community groups, activists and food programs working together to identify children at risk of hunger, and ensure they have nutritious food where they live, learn and play. Governor O’Malley was the first Governor in the nation to commit to ending childhood hunger by 2015 and has made Childhood Hunger one of his 15 administrative priorities. As a result, Maryland is one of four grantees that are at the implementation stage for the Hunger-Free Communities Grant program.
Congress created the Hunger Free Communities Grant Program as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, with support from Bread for the World, Share Our Strength and other anti-hunger groups. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the child nutrition programs, that touch the lives of one in four children in America each year.
Tags: Farm Bill, FNS, Food Nutrition Service, Food Supplement Program, hunger, Hunger Free Communities Grant Program, Hunger-Free Communities Grant, Maryland Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, President Obama, Secretary Vilsack, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, USDA