County Executive Calvin Ball joined officials from around Howard County and community members last night (August 13th) at Lisbon Elementary School to sign a new partnership improving food access in Western Howard County. Photos of the event can be found here.
“This innovative agreement will establish a weekly meal program for students and families in the Lisbon area, and is possible thanks to our strong partnerships with the community,” said Ball. “We’re bringing together Howard County Public Schools, the Department of Community Resources and Services, our Roving Radish program, our Library System, and community partners to provide healthy meals and engaging activities for our students. This pandemic has made food access more difficult for many of our residents, and we will continue to find collaborative solutions to ensure no one is left behind.”
The weekly meal program is a partnership between the Department of Community Resources and Services (DCRS), the Local Children’s Board, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS), Lisbon Elementary School, the Howard County Library System, Lisbon United Methodist Church, and the Lisbon Grill.
“We are living in difficult times affecting many Howard County families, including many who have not previously needed support,” said HCPSS Superintendent, Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “Schools fill a unique role in the community and by collaborating with our partner organizations to reach out a helping hand to help our neighbors, we strengthen our entire community. None of us knows when or whether we too may need support.”
The signing served as a concluding event to an eight-week pilot meal distribution program, which served more than 600 meal kits to more than 35 families and individuals in the area beginning in June.
“We are grateful to our partners No Kid Hungry, the Roving Radish, the Lisbon Grill, our Library System and all of the other intra-agency volunteers and partners who made this initiative possible,” said Jacqueline R. Scott, Director of the Department of Community Resources and Services. “We’re convinced that this program is a strong model for how government and community members can work together to address needs and to spur opportunity for all residents throughout Howard County.”
The program is funded and staffed with volunteers through coordinated by DCRS and the Local Children’s Board. The Howard County Library System will continue providing learning activity kits for households with children ages 3-10 years which were distributed along with the pilot meal kits.
“We were pleased to collaborate on this initiative to provide food and educational activities to Lisbon Elementary and neighboring families. Our team assembled science and art-themed kits, giving children fun and hands-on ways to keep learning. And, provided Spanish translation to welcome all families with dignity. Through this partnership, families in our community enrich their bodies and minds throughout the summer,” noted Tonya Aikens, Howard County Library System President & CEO.
The Lisbon partnership is part of 31 food distribution sites throughout the county, highlighted in a recently launched interactive dashboard for Howard County residents to find meal access resources.
For more information about the partnership, contact Kimberly Eisenreich at 410-313-6400. (voice/relay).