The Ravens and the Maryland Food Bank have partnered on numerous initiatives over the last 25 years to help combat food insecurity in Maryland. Their efforts have become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their partnership will continue in 2021 as the Ravens and MFB remain committed to the fight against hunger.
"The last 11 months have been the most challenging in the Maryland Food Bank's 40-plus year history, but over that time, the Baltimore Ravens have been by our side, supporting us at every turn," MFB President & CEO Carmen Del Guercio said. "From the incredible infusion of financial donations early into the pandemic, to their amazing support throughout the football season, the Ravens have really stepped up as partners in the fight against hunger. Without the Baltimore Ravens, it would have been difficult to provide the critical resources needed to successfully execute our emergency relief efforts in response to this unprecedented crisis."
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ravens Foundation, Inc. donated $250,000 to MFB as they worked to meet the sudden needs of food-insecure families. Last May, the Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation and the Baltimore Ravens donated $1 million to MFB as part of ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. The funds were used to support MFB's Phase 1 and 2 response plans to meet Maryland's growing demand for food and to help sustain MFB's food assistance safety net.
In November, the Ravens, Maryland Food Bank, Safeway, WBAL-TV 11, WBAL NewsRadio, 98 Rock and Von Paris Moving & Storage teamed up to execute the 25th Annual Ravens Family Food & Funds Drive.
In December, the Ravens Foundation, Inc. donated proceeds from fan cutouts purchased throughout the NFL season to support local nonprofits' COVID-19 relief efforts, including MFB. In all, nearly $1.3 million was donated to MFB in 2020.
During the 2020 season, the Ravens surpassed previous collection goals and generated up to 1.5 million meals for food-insecure Marylanders – over a 10,000% increase in the total sum of donations from the 2019 Food & Funds Drive. This initiative was made possible through MFB's "Giving Tuesday Phone-a-Thon," in-store cash collections at Baltimore area Safeway stores and online donations.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fresh Food Mobile has been instrumental in helping MFB distribute "Grab and Go" meals to kids and their families at sites across Central Maryland. Throughout the 2020 season, the Mobile distributed 51,000 meals in the Baltimore area between nine sites.
Over the past 12 months, MFB distributed enough food to provide nearly 51 million meals to Marylanders in need, an 88% increase over the previous year's distribution rate during the same period. The food bank also distributed 374,075 "Back Up Boxes," 30-pound emergency food boxes for situations where MFB programs and regular distribution channels are not available.
The food bank is primarily in need of healthy non-perishable food items, including canned proteins like tuna, chicken and peanut butter, canned fruits in fruit juice, low-sodium vegetables, shelf-stable milk, breakfast items, rice and pasta.
To learn more about Maryland Food Bank and how you can support, please visit: mdfoodbank.org