Safely putting Food on the Table


Musician, writer and poet Ryan Saunders moved into his apartment in December and was looking forward to creating an in-home studio.

Though he loves to cook, Ryan has long had trouble getting fresh, healthy food. But thanks to a pilot program over the last three months, Ryan had food delivered right to his front door.

"Before I moved into my apartment, I had to rely on food stamps," Ryan says. And, without a place to store food, let alone cook a healthy meal, he relied on mostly pre-packaged foods.

Ryan’s neighborhood doesn’t have a grocery store in walking distance, making any trip a day-long ordeal. He recently lost his car and has to catch a ride or use public transportation to get from his apartment to the grocery store. If he goes alone, he can only buy what he’s able to carry.

When the pandemic started, Ryan’s long bus trip to the store became more than an inconvenience; it was a serious threat to his health. And he’s not alone.

This past summer, more than half of clients we surveyed said they hadn’t been able to access food when they needed it.

In July, our Housing Services department joined forces with the Maryland Food Bank to regularly deliver boxes of food directly to the doors of 25 clients. These no-contact deliveries made by Community Health Workers removed a lot of stress for Ryan and made some of his favorite meals even better!

"I love to cook and call up my sisters for recipes. I add vegetables I get from the boxes to make roasted chicken, rice and gravy. This reminds me that people care enough to help someone like me. That really means a lot," he says.

Stay tuned for more on food insecurity during upcoming Community of Practice conversations.

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