Normally, a summertime decline in donations to food banks and church pantries around the state is offset by a drop in demand. This year, the donations have followed their seasonal pattern, but there has been no matching drop in demand.
Many reasons are contributing to the increased need. The lackluster economy and the fact that jobless benefits have run out for unemployed workers are major factors. So is the fact that many children who get free breakfasts and lunch during the school year have no such help during the summer months. Regardless of the causes, the bottom line is that too many people are going hungry in Maryland.
Churches and food banks represent a last resort. Families turn to these services once they have exhausted other avenues for help -- when they are, in other words, truly desperate.