'Bags of Plenty' seeks to feed hungry Campaign for donations to begin tomorrow

November 09, 1996|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

It's brown bag time again.

The 10th annual Bags of Plenty campaign for food and money donations for hungry people begins tomorrow with a call for help because of what organizers call an alarming increase in demand for services by soup kitchens and emergency food pantries.

Constance Row, acting executive director of the Maryland Food Committee, said the state estimates 17,000 people in Maryland FTC between ages 18 and 50 face cuts in food stamps because of changes in welfare. Many children are among Maryland's hungry, she added.

A survey of 200 emergency food providers in Maryland showed a 17 percent increase in the number of people receiving food in October 1995, compared with the year before. The 1996 statewide survey hasn't been completed, but another increase is expected, the food committee said.

About 20,000 people eat each day at Baltimore area soup kitchens. At times, the hungry are turned away for lack of food.

The 1995 drive raised $65,000 and collected 200,000 pounds of food. Officials hope for more this year. The drive ends Dec. 6.

Some funds received will support programs teaching self-sufficiency and exploring long-term solutions to hunger.

The joint project of the food committee and the Maryland Food Bank asks people to fill bags with nonperishable food, such as pasta, peanut butter, canned fruit or vegetables, and baby formula.

Marked brown bags will be distributed in The Sun Tuesday. Donors are asked to bring food to any Giant Food store or Baltimore fire station. In a new feature, an empty Bag of Plenty may be purchased for $1 at any Signet Bank branch.

Checks may be taken to any Signet Bank branch in Maryland or mailed to Bags of Plenty, P.O. Box 75164, Baltimore 21275-5164.

Donors of money may charge contributions by phone by calling Sundial at 783-1800, Ext. GIVE (4483).

The food bank and the food committee are the two largest nonprofit hunger-relief groups in the state. Corporate supporters are Giant Food, Maryland Transit Administration, Signet Bank, The Baltimore Sun, WMAR Channel 2, MIX 106.5-FM radio, and The Colt 104.3-FM radio.

Pub Date: 11/09/96

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