BALTIMORE (WJZ) – The Maryland Food Bank has launched pilot programs targeting unemployment and underemployment, two of the leading causes of food insecurity, and improving access to healthy, stable items, the organization said Tuesday.
Through a grant from Feeding America, the Workforce Development Partnerships Program connects Baltimore-area residents to social services and job training in areas such as IT and healthcare who “provide salaries to support the family and are not at risk of automation,” the organization mentioned.
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The nonprofit said the unemployment rate in Baltimore is 6.8%, compared to 5% statewide, and among black residents it is nearly 10%. Young Baltimoreans between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working, according to a study by the nonprofit.
“There are many great programs out there to support young people, but few offer all the tools to prepare them for jobs in the high-growth, high-paying industries we’ve identified,” said Eliza Weeks, senior manager at Maryland. Food Bank. pilot projects and strategic initiatives. “We also go the extra mile to help them overcome obstacles by providing weekly food boxes and a stipend, giving participants one less thing to worry about.”
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The food bank has also launched an initiative to provide relief boxes containing 15 to 30 pounds of food to people awaiting approval for SNAP benefits. Following an influx of applications, the process takes an average of 30 days, the association said.
Home delivery of boxes is being tested through online grocery ordering site OrderAhead.
“We quickly realized that OrderAhead made sense beyond being a ‘gap filler’ for SNAP recipients,” Weeks said. “It could help us feed people in need that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. The elderly, the sick or disabled, students, and housebound populations, for example, may not be able to visit their local food pantry in person.
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In March, the Maryland Food Bank released a study showing that nearly half of families in Maryland said their children sometimes or often did not eat enough food due to high costs.