MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — In an effort to alleviate food insecurity in the DMV, Manna Food Center partnered with WUSA9 for a food drive. The food center took place at a Giant grocery store in Rockville, Maryland on Wednesday and many in the community were eager to donate.
Manna Food Center is a non-profit organization that was created 40 years ago that is striving to end hunger in Montgomery Co.
According to Capital Area Food Bank’s Hunger Report 2022, last year 30% of residents in Montgomery Co. experienced some form of food insecurity. Despite being in an affluent area, many still struggle to feed their families and Manna Food Center is trying to bridge that gap.
“The truth is we have amazing amounts of wealth and we have folks who are struggling to get by. We have lots of different kinds of diversity and economic diversity is one of those,” said Jackie DeCarlo, CEO of Manna Food Center.
The hunger report further explains that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted employment and financial statuses. Data showed that 23% of people in Montgomery Co. stated they were unable to pay another bill due to financial challenges that were brought on by the pandemic, according to the report.
Data also showed that 30% of people reported they were scheduled fewer hours for their jobs. Additionally, 28% had their wages reduced and 17% said they were laid off from their job.
DeCarlo explained most of the people using their services are people who are not necessarily experiencing extreme poverty or extreme wealth; mainly it's people who fall in-between and are “trying to make ends meet.”
Manna Food Center offers a grocery store-like experience with their Manna Market where people in need of food can shop for their necessities alongside other community members.
“That’s why we built this marketplace because it’s so much more welcoming to be able to pick your own food [and] be welcomed with your neighbors who are volunteering,” said DeCarlo.
According to Manna Food Center’s website, the organization has served more than 45,000 people and has distributed 5.3 million pounds of food to the community.
WUSA9 and Manna Food Center met their goal of leaving an impact on the Montgomery Co. community. As a result of Wednesday's food drive, 22 large boxes were filled with food and over 3,200 pounds of food were collected. Some frequent donations from the food drive were baby food, pasta and other canned goods.
WUSA9 will be partnering with more local organizations that are fighting hunger in the DMV region for the next few weeks. If you wish to make an impact and learn more about food insecurity in your community stay updated with WUSA9 on all of the upcoming events and other resources that are available in the area.
On August 3, WUSA9 is partnering with Unity Communities Against Poverty for a food drive at the Giant located at 9580n Livingston Rd., Fort Washington, Md.