Columbia, MD – The Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition (HCLHIC) has received a $20,000 award from the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Control (CCDPC) to establish a committee to address food insecurity in Howard County. This newly-formed HCLHIC committee will work to implement food security initiatives among priority populations.
“Food insecurity exists in Howard County and this challenge has been exacerbated by rising food prices as a result of inflation,” said Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman. “This committee will leverage partnerships with local stakeholders in an effort to address this concern, while improving food access and having a positive impact on the overall health of our community.”
Nearly one in six county residents reported concern about running out of food before they could afford more, according to the 2021 Howard County Health Assessment Survey. Additionally, while 23 percent of county households had an income above the Federal Poverty Line, these individuals were still unable to afford basic household necessities, according to the 2018 Maryland United for ALICE report.
“Despite the resources around us, many of our neighbors are not sure when their next meal will be,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “We’ve increased efforts during the past three years to eliminate food insecurity, including providing nutritious meal giveaways for our older adults, subsidizing meals through our award-winning Roving Radish program for families, and supporting our Howard County Food Bank. We look forward to the positive impacts of this new committee and will continue to work towards a hunger-free community.”
Once established, one of the first objectives of the committee will be to gather further insights from residents about community food insecurity through survey and data analysis toward the goal of achieving a measurable improvement in this area.
The HCLHIC was one of five State coalitions to receive this award, along with Baltimore, Charles, Garrett and St. Mary’s counties. The funding from the State of Maryland is in support of the State Partnership Improving Nutrition and Equity (SPINE) Program, a national project of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). NACDD, in collaboration with the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), will support Maryland in leveraging cross-sector partnerships to improve sustainable and equitable access to affordable, safe and nutritious food across the lifespan.
For more about the Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition and information about how members of the public can get involved, visit www.hchlhic.org.