…hunger is growing in our county, and it’s happening at an alarming rate.
I am writing to commend you on your recent editorial, “High cost of living in a wealthy county” in the March 7 edition of The Calvert Recorder. Thank you for raising awareness about what is really happening in Calvert County and I urge every resident to read that editorial and get informed on what many families and individuals are experiencing.
The gist of the editorial is that hunger is growing in our county, and it’s happening at an alarming rate.
The deeper truth behind your statistics is that hunger did not appear overnight. Rather, this is part of an economic stew that has been simmering in Calvert County over the past six years. It’s only now that it’s beginning to boil over and we are beginning to notice.
End Hunger in Calvert County was founded just as the evidence of this trend was starting to emerge. In 2006 we learned that the families and individuals being served by local food pantries were as your editorial said “not the usual picture of poverty.” Rather the folks coming through food pantry doors were the working poor, people with full time-jobs and often more than one. This information contradicted all the stereotypical images of the unemployed homeless person begging for a meal.
And now it is becoming apparent that an even more startling face of hunger is surfacing in our county.
The face of hunger in Calvert County used to be a single mother with two children. But over the last few years we have seen a dramatic shift. Now our county food pantries are seeing entire families coming in.
Families where one or more of the parents has lost their job or been laid off. People that use to serve at food pantries are now being served by food pantries.
Calvert County is one of the wealthiest counties of any size in the United States yet more than 10 percent of our population utilizes local food pantries. End Hunger in Calvert County supports 11 local food pantries doing exactly what your editorial described, helping “families stretch their dollars. The less they have to pay for food, the more likely they’ll be able to pay their other bills.” Every day, we embrace hundreds of families and individuals who are desperately trying to keep their lives together.
Our mission is to help people move from dependency to self-sufficiency. That is why programs like Calvert Cash matter. Through this program we not only file their taxes completely free, we teach them basic financial literacy skills on how to create a budget to manage their finances. When you support End Hunger in Calvert County, you are supporting real life change that makes a real difference.
Together we are the solution. For more information and to get involved, go to our website at endhungercalvert.org. Please check out our video “Together We Can.” But I warn you, keep some tissues nearby. In this video you see the real Calvert faces and real Calvert stories. You’ll also see what we are all doing to help.
The beauty of Calvert County is that we are a generous people and our county is still small enough that hunger can be defeated. There is something everyone can do, and Together We Can. Get informed, get involved, be the solution.
Jacqueline Hahn, Huntingtown
The writer is the director of communications for End Hunger in Calvert County.