WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) praised the essential work of anti-hunger organizations in Maryland’s 8th District during a House Rules Committee hearing about opportunities to end hunger in America. Click here to watch Rep. Raskin’s remarks about the essential work of community food pantries and anti-hunger organizations serving Marylanders, including Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington and Takoma Park Middle School Cluster Food Support.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of Americans experiencing hunger has surged nationwide. In 2020, an estimated 45 million Americans experienced food insecurity, including 13 million children. Millions of families visited food banks and roughly two in five Americans turned to food banks for the first time in their lives. Food banks across Maryland’s 8th Congressional District reported skyrocketing demand for food assistance.

“We have seen terrible outbreaks of hunger and poverty over the course of the pandemic,” said Rep. Raskin. “But better days are on the horizon. As President Biden highlighted in his Joint Address to Congress last night, hunger has decreased sharply during his first 100 days in office. I thank Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern for making the hunger crisis a priority for our Committee, and I look forward to building on the American Rescue Plan’s historic investments in key anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs like SNAP and WIC. I also thank all the amazing volunteers, donors, and staff who support food banks and pantries, meal drives, and anti-hunger organizations across our communities.”

The Takoma Park Middle School Cluster Food Support, which previously served 33 families each month before the pandemic, significantly expanded its local food pantry efforts during the pandemic to serve more than 4,000 individuals per month.

“While the impact of the pandemic has opened our eyes to the many opportunities for support and connection, the generosity and eagerness of our neighbors to take action has been humbling,” said Meghan Holland McDonald, a co-founder of The Takoma Park Middle School Cluster Food Support and PTA President of Takoma Park Elementary School. ” We are a community that lives our values every day. We see no end in sight to our work, but we do hope one day everyone in America will have all the food they need, and we will be put out of work.”

In March of 2020, the Adventist Pantry located in Takoma Park reported serving in just one week the same number of families they typically served in an entire month prior to the pandemic.

Montgomery County is one of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States,” said Ken Flemmer, Executive Director of Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington. “COVID-19 exposed that even with this wealth, food insecurity was just below the horizon. Some months during the pandemic, the Center has served close to 10 times the number of families we served in the same period the prior year.”

This hearing was the first in a series of House Rules Committee hearings focused on ending hunger in America. The Committee is soliciting input from anyone who has a story or an idea about solving the hunger crisis in America. Whether you’re an educator, a non-profit organization, or a family in need, your voice deserves to be heard. Please click here to share your story.