United Way of Central Maryland Focuses on Affordable Food Access


Food is one of the most basic human needs, but in central Maryland more than 300,000 of our neighbors are food insecure and thousands live in “food deserts” with no access to a grocery store.

United Way of Central Maryland is working to change that with their Access to Healthy Food initiative: a three-year project that focuses on making affordable, fresh and healthy foods available to underserved communities in Baltimore City and the surrounding counties, and promotes an overall healthy lifestyle. Their goal? Expand sourcing of healthy, affordable food for low-income individuals in central Maryland by at least 1.5 million pounds each year and expand infrastructure so that 60,000 people have more consistent access to it.

Molly Shattuck – former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader and local healthy living advocate – is serving as United Way’s Healthy Food Ambassador, has pointed out a few reasons why this initiative is so important to Central Maryland:

·         Food insecurity is the lack of available nutritious and safe food; some contributing factors include lack of grocery stores in neighborhoods, lack of transportation and increases in food costs (Food Research and Actions Center).

·         18 % of Baltimore City residents live in a “food desert,” which is a geographic area composed of low-income residents who do not have access to healthy foods including produce, whole grains and low-fat milk.

·         Food insecurity affects one’s ability to learn and slows cognitive development. There is increased susceptibility to illness and negative health outcomes such as diabetes, coronary disease and childhood obesity.

·         According to the Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network, the average person should consume 70 lbs. of fresh produce per year. However, requests for food assistance consistently rank among top five calls received via United Way of Central Maryland’s 24-hour health and human services hotline (2-1-1 MD at UWCM)

Families Living United Harvest Helpers Gleaning Event
October 2, 2011 | 2:00pm – 5:00pm

First Fruits Farm
2025 Freeland Rd
Freeland, MD 21053

Join United Way of Central Maryland as “Harvest Helpers” at First Fruits Farm for a gleaning event this fall. All of the crops that are gleaned will help feed hungry families in central Maryland.