Baltimore Hunger Project (BHP) is an organization committed to eliminating childhood hunger on the weekends by providing meal bags to elementary school students all around Baltimore City and County. The organization has been supplying food bags to children since 2014, when founder Lynne B. Kahn dedicated herself to feeding children on the weekend. While there is a shared understanding that ending world hunger is a global issue that cannot be solved by just one organization, the volunteers and workers at BHP know that they can tackle ending weekend hunger for these elementary school students and enact change at the local level. To date, BHP has packed over 200,000 weekend bags to over 1,600 children.
In addition to preparing weekend meal bags, BHP also arranges a variety of packs and bags for students. They have snack bags for teachers to distribute when they see a child without a snack at snack time, candy bags for Halloween, and birthday packs to make every birthday special! The birthday packs are thoughtfully stocked with everything a family could possibly need, providing everything from the cake mix, cake pan, oil, icing, silverware, candles, plates, and napkins.
Along with these packs, BHP also hosts a variety of donation drives throughout the year. Operation Warm was a collection drive of new hats, gloves, scarves, and jackets for their students. The #SpreadtheLOVE campaign was a collection drive of peanut butter and jelly to give out to students and their families. In the beginning of the school year, BHP hosts a school supply drive to ease the costs of school supplies for families. They also host a Thanksgiving food drive, where BHP collects all the typical Thanksgiving sides to provide for their families (BHP provided the turkey!) Throughout the year, BHP assesses the needs of their students and provides whatever they need.
Feeling inspired and want to get involved? Here are some ways to do so!
· Consider donating (just $25 goes towards creating food security for a child for 1 month)
· Participate in an open packing session
· Sign up for a corporate packing session
· Participate in one of BHP’s many donation drives throughout the year
· Write notes of encouragement that are included in every student’s weekend bags
· Make snack kits or birthday bags and drop them off at the warehouse in Timonium (details on @BaltimoreHungerProject Instagram)
· Follow @Baltimorehungerproject on Instagram for additional ways to get involved!
If you’re wondering what a typical packing session is like, two other classmates and I were given the opportunity to participate in an open packing session at the BHP warehouse in Timonium. The four guest writers you may have seen over the last few blogs are Loyola University Maryland students. We are senior Global Studies majors that have partnered with BHP for our senior capstone project. When we arrived for the packing session, there were around 15 volunteers for the session. The long-term volunteers introduced themselves and BHP before starting the session. After taking us to the warehouse, a huge room stocked with boxes upon boxes of food and complete with long tables in the middle, the long-term volunteers show everyone the specific way to pack the weekend bags. They must be packed in the right way to make it as small as possible for students to pick up discreetly at school. After the tutorial, everyone forms an assembly line at the long tables and packs 2 to 3 items in each bag. Included in each bag is a can of soup, cereal and milk, mac and cheese, tuna fish, applesauce, juice box, granola bars, fruit snacks, silverware, and a letter of encouragement (or items similar to this, as BHP packs all the bags with the same things so every child has the same bag). We made 400 weekend bags in one session, and it took about two hours to pack everything up. Overall, our experience was very positive, and we were grateful to have the opportunity to attend.