This past weekend, many celebrated and paid tribute to their mothers, but for thousands of mothers in the National Capital Region, there wasn’t much to celebrate.
Since 2006, hunger in the Washington metro area has increased 25 percent and over 641,000 residents are struggling to get enough food to eat. After rent, transportation and medical costs, far too many working mothers and families have little left over for groceries and other items such as diapers and hygiene products.
The Capital Area Food Bank, the largest nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource in the region, works to ensure that all may sit down to three quality meals a day by distributing nearly 30 million pounds of food – half of which is fresh produce – to over 478,100 residents in need.
Distributing food is just one part of the food bank’s comprehensive approach to addressing the issues of hunger. We also offer nutrition education; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach, formerly known as the food stamp program; and help our network of over 700 nonprofit partners become more effective in dealing with issues of hunger. We recently launched our Produce for People initiative in an effort to distribute 15 million pounds of fresh produce to those with limited access to nutritious food.
We have also partnered with the DC Diaper Bank to meet an overwhelming need for young mothers who not only struggle daily to feed their children, but are unable, in many instances, to afford diapers for their young babies. Diapers are not covered by assistance programs and represent a significant expense for struggling families.
Although Mother’s Day has passed, let’s remember those mothers who are struggling to feed their families. For over 30 years, the food bank has worked to nourish our neighbors in need. But we cannot do it alone. We must work together as a community to ensure that all have access to the most basic human right – food.