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Definition:  The percentage of families who are food insecure.  The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a measure of the lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members; limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods.




Prevalence of Household-Level Food Insecurity (3-year Average)
2003-2005 2004-2006 2005-2007 2006-2008 2007-2009 2008-2010 2009-2011 2010-2012 2011-2013
MD 9.4% 9.5% 8.6% 9.6% 11.1% 12.5% 12.5% 13.0% 13.3%
US 11.4% 11.3% 11.0% 12.2% 13.5% 14.6% 14.7% 14.7% 14.6%

Data Source: Coleman-Jensen, Alisha, Christian Gregory, and Anita Singh. Household Food Security in the United States in 2013, ERR-173, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September 2014.

Story Behind the Data:

According to the United States Census Bureau’s 2012 Small-Area Income and Poverty Estimate (SAIPE), six Maryland counties (Howard, Montgomery, Charles, Calvert, Anne Arundel, and St. Mary’s Counties) are within the top thirty median incomes in the United States, making Maryland the wealthiest State in the country.  There is no Maryland community, however, that is free from the effect of hunger; 13.3% or about 1 in 8 households in Maryland face a constant struggle against hunger.

In partnership with Share Our Strength, and with the support of Maryland Hunger Solutions, the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland leads Maryland’s efforts to connect children and families to nutrition resources.  This public-private partnership includes non-profit organizations, businesses and foundations, State and federal agencies, advocates, local leaders, and representatives from the faith community.  The Partnership emphasizes the need to provide access to healthy food where children and their families live, work, and play.

School Breakfast Program:

From the 2011-12 to the 2012-13 school year, Maryland had the fifth largest increase in participation in the School Breakfast Program in the Country.  This represents an 8.6% increase in participation, supporting academic achievement by connecting more than 12,800 additional children to breakfast each day.  Much of this growth in program participation is a result of schools implementing alternative delivery models, such as breakfast in the classroom, Grab-and-Go breakfast, and Second Chance breakfast.  These alternative models are addressing the many barriers to students eating breakfast in school, including inconvenience, stigma, bell schedules, and transportation issues.  While many schools have received private funding to implement these programs, Maryland has also been able to increase participation in Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA), an in-classroom breakfast program that provides every student breakfast at no cost.  The FY2014 budget included  a $1.8 million dollar increase for MMFA, allowing an additional 127 schools to participate in universal in-classroom breakfast during the 2013-14 school year.

School Breakfast


Summer Food Service Program:

During the summer of 2013, more than 2.8 million meals were served to an average of 71,000 children each day, the highest program participation since the Partnership began tracking program participation.  This is a 23% increase, representing more than 520,000 additional meals served compared to 2012.

Throughout Maryland, local jurisdictions piloted programs to increase the access of summer meals to children.  Several large counties saw significant increases in summer meals participation.  This was led by Montgomery County, which piloted providing hot meals in a school cafeteria location and served 650 hot meals a day, more than doubling the number of meals served from 2012 to 2013.  Multiple counties used mobile meals routes to bring meals to children including, Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Charles, and Prince George’s Counties, at housing developments, parks, and pools.

Summer Meals

Additional Resources