On January 25, 2022, we attended the first town hall meeting on the County budget (District 2) and made the following statement in support of full funding for three critical anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs.
For a schedule of these Council budget hearings and how to participate, go to: https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/departments/executive/townhallmeetings.html
“Good evening, I’m Dr. Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, President of the Student Support Network, a non-profit organization assisting students in poverty in Baltimore County Public Schools. This year, over half of all students in BCPS live in severe poverty and qualify for Free School Meals.
Even before the pandemic, 30% of high school students in BCPS were food insecure; their families lack consistent access to nutritious food. Students experiencing food insecurity are at a higher risk of drug use, making a suicide plan, fighting at school, and carrying a weapon to school.
These successful programs proven to reduce food insecurity are all currently underfunded.
Full funding for Summer SNAP for children, about $5.1 million dollars, would assist over 51,000 children living in extreme poverty in Baltimore County. For just $100 per child per year, Summer SNAP for Children reduces hunger and food insecurity.
Second, increasing the minimum SNAP benefit for about 7,000 recipients under the age of 62 would give them at least $1 a day in food assistance, or a minimum of $30 per month.
Third, 16 middle and high schools that qualify are not currently participating in Maryland Meals For Achievement, a free school breakfast program, due to inadequate funding. Less than $750,000 a year could ensure that the nearly 20,000 students in these schools can start the day ready to learn.
About $6.7 million dollars would support over 78,000 residents including over 51,000 children. Please support full County funding for these food assistance programs. Thank you.”
For information on the Student Support Network Advocacy Committee, go to https://studentsupportnetwork.org/advocate/