Where the Money Goes: The Maryland Food Bank

Amy Chase, Director of Corporate Relations

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I met Amy Chase when I was looking for a nonprofit to support that fed kids in Maryland and called the Maryland Food Bank (MFB). According to their Form 990, MFB is puts 92% of the money they raise directly towards program expenses; only 8% goes to overhead (fundraising and administrative costs) to keep the operation running. This is an awesome number. (If you are not familiar with the Form 990, this is a publicly available tax document that shows how a nonprofit uses their money the previous year. All nonprofits have to submit this form to maintain their tax exempt status. You can view MFB’s form 990 and annual report documents here)

Amy started working for MFB 9 months ago after working in higher education and fundraising for the Chesapeake Bay foundation. While the higher education and saving the bay were important causes to her, it started to really hit her that if people don’t have food or a roof over their head, these things dominate their lives. That’s when she decided to dedicate her life to fighting hunger. There are over 13 million hungry kids nationwide, and 1 out of 6 kids struggle with food insecurity (not knowing where their next meal is coming from) right here in MD. According to research done by the No Kid Hungry campaign, kids who have breakfast average 17.5% better on standardized math than kids who don’t. Hunger is a major problem, and it immediately stood out to me how passionate Amy is about solving it. She’s an awesome mountain mover at MFB, focusing on cultivating relationships with businesses that want to help fight hunger by providing food or monetary donations.

What the Maryland Food Bank Does

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MFB is the only food bank in Maryland and functions as a central distribution hub for the entire state. They obtain the food and send it to 1250 food pantries statewide to get the food directly to people. MFB gets their food from (1) food donations (2) food purchased for pennies on the dollar through retail relationships, and (3) contract growing with MD farmers through their Farm to Food Bank Program, which uses $3 million from the MD government to pay local farmers to grow fresh produce exclusively for MD families. Many farms in the program also donate food directly to MFB. Other programs include school pantries, supper clubs, summer feeding programs, and Food Works, a tuition free job training program to help low income residents learn basic culinary skills and get jobs. 100% of last year’s graduates got jobs and averaged $15.37/hour, well above minimum wage. It’s a really cool program that helps fight a root cause of hunger by helping people get out of the cycle of poverty.

The Weekend Survival Kit ProgramMD Food Bank Image

My Phone Feeds Kids supports the Weekend Survival Kit program, which gives food to homeless inner city Baltimore kids. Chris and Pam Wilson started the program a few years ago after they learned that there are many homeless kids who are dependent on free and reduced lunches during the week and don’t have food for the weekend. There are about 2400 homeless kids in Baltimore living in shelters, transitioning between foster homes, or living in cars. Originally the Wilsons got food donations from a coalition of local churches, and now food donations come from MFB. Kids in the program are identified by school principals and counselors. They are given enough food for 3 people for the weekend. Meals are typically made up of bread, milk, applesauce, and peanut butter and jelly. Everything is shelf stable and ready to eat, so no cooking, cutting, or refrigeration is needed. The program currently supports 6 schools in the state, but only 100 of the 2400 homeless kids in Baltimore. Our goal is to expand this program to help as many of the remaining kids as possible.

Our Launch Event on Sept 8th

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Come hang with us and help these kids at our launch event on September 8th! It’s at 7 PM at the Sip at C Street Flats coffee shop in Laurel, MD. RSVP to the Facebook event here → bit.ly/MPFKLaunch. We’ll be going over the direction of the company and our vision for it, and Amy Chase will be there so you will be able to meet her. We will also have a Q/A session where you can ask anything you’d like. You’ll also be able to download the app and buy shirts at the event (and save on shipping! Woo!).

If you’d like to download the app and get your shirt early, just click the links below:

App Store link

Google play link

To learn more about My Phone Feeds Kids, visit our FAQ. If you are a business owner interested in becoming a sponsor or would like to get your business involved in feeding kids in Baltimore, send us an email at business@myphonefeedskids.com and we’ll get that conversation started. If you’d like to volunteer with MFB, just follow us on social media. We’ll be posting volunteer events there.

I’m always open to feedback or suggestions, so I would love to hear from you. Send me an email with your thoughts at luke@myphonefeedskids.com. Let’s make this world a better place, together.