Albornoz: Need for Food Security Now ‘Off the Charts’

Councilmember Jawando spearheaded the partnership to create the fund.

Councilmember Will Jawando introduced a public-private partnership with the Greater Washington Community Foundation Saturday, which launches the Montgomery County Food Security Fund.

The goal of the food security fund is to “connect food to more people” in the county by supporting restaurants, food banks, and local farmers. Saturday’s news conference took place at East County Recreation Center, where hundreds of people were driving to the community center for grab-and-go meals.

Councilmember Gabe Albornoz noted, while speaking at the news conference, that since the coronavirus started, 110,000 county residents have filed for unemployment. He said, “The need [for food security] was profound before covid,” but now the need “is off the charts.”

On June 23, the Montgomery County Council voted to establish the fund by a $10.3 million special appropriation. The Montgomery County Food Security Fund is not only funded by county funds, but also by corporate, individual, and philanthropic partners. So far, the sponsors have raised a total of $325,000.

Entrepreneurs David and Michel Blair donated $100,000 to the Montgomery County Food Security Fund. David Blair is also well known in the county for running a close Democratic primary race for County Executive against Marc Elrich in 2018).

Brian Smith, the public policy manager for Washington Gas, also announced that Washington Gas is serving as a corporate sponsor to the cause and has donated $100,000. Rev. Matthew Watley, announced that the church for which he’s a pastor, Kingdom Fellowship AME Church, has already donated $125,000 and hopes to donate $500,000 by the end of the year.

A website has been set up for more individuals and people to support the Montgomery County Food Security Fund.

“No matter how big or small, you can help,” Jawando said.

Jackie DeCarlo, CEO of Manna Food Center, said the fund can help create a more equitable food sustainability system.

“I hope we use this fund to create a fairer, more equitable Montgomery County,” DeCarlo said.

Recap of Montgomery County Food Security Fund News Conference in Tweet Form

Here’s a play-by-play of Saturday’s news conference in tweet form:

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