About Us

Our Mission

We improve the lives of Baltimore County students living in poverty by providing food, other basic necessities, and advocacy support.

The Network partners with school staff to assist qualified students in need to improve their lives and support their education through the provision of food, clothing, educational supplies and other critical items.

Christina Pumphrey, Lead organizer at Pine Grove Middle School, in “The Grove” Room of Support

Students from Goucher College and Professor Phong Le with Chris Diehl, Lead organizer (both at far right) in the “Loch Raven Haven” at Loch Raven High School

Why We Do What We Do

2018 – 2019: Poverty, food insecurity and homelessness in Baltimore County Public Schools
(Compiled by Dr. Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, President, Student Support Network)

 

Over 50,000 students (nearly 44% of all students) qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals in Baltimore County Public Schools.

BCPS statistics only track those students whose families qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals.

  • Free Meals: in 2017-2018, income for a family of four cannot exceed $31,980 (130% of Federal Poverty Level, or FPL) – about 43,000 students.
  • Reduced Price Meals: in 2017-2018, income for a family of four cannot exceed $45,510 (185% of FPL) – about 7,000 students.

Thousands more are poor but their families make too much to qualify for meals.  They are invisible in the statistics here.  In Baltimore County, 124,439 families have incomes below the threshold needed to be self-sufficient, or 38% of all families (United Way of Maryland).  In Towson, 36% of all families struggle financially.

The basic survival budget for a family of four (2 adults, 2 children) in Maryland (no savings possible) is nearly $70,000 a year (United Way ALICE report, 2018, p. 4).

Food insecurity: Defined as “the limited or uncertain access to healthy food” (Maryland Hunger Solutions), affects over 26,000 children (almost 15% of all children in Baltimore County).  2017 Feeding America Map of Baltimore County Child Food Insecurity

 

Poverty and Homelessness in Network Schools, 2018-2019

*SNAP is the acronym for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; these students live in families at or below 130% of the federal poverty level, which in 2019 is an annual income of no more than $33,475 for a family of four people.

According to research conducted by the United Way and Johns Hopkins University, the annual income needed by a family of four to be self-sufficient in Baltimore County (no savings possible) is approximately $70,000.

 

Loch Raven High School

Enrollment: 870 students

268 students qualify for Free Meals, 31.3% of all students

111 students depend on SNAP benefits*

19 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Parkville High School

Enrollment: 1937 students

870  students qualify for Free Meals, 47.9% of all students

301  students depend on SNAP benefits

164 currently experiencing homelessness

 

 Pine Grove Middle School

Enrollment: 921 students

361  students qualify for Free Meals, 38.6% of all students

180 students depend on SNAP benefits

18 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Halstead Academy

Enrollment: 491 Students

371 students qualify for Free Meals, 75% of all students

203 students depend on SNAP benefits

25 students currently experiencing homelessness

Loch Raven Technical Academy

Enrollment: 769 students

413 students qualify for Free Meals, 54.9% of all students

195 students depend on SNAP benefits

20 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Dumbarton Middle School

Enrollment: 1,188 students

223 students qualify for Free Meals, 18.7% of all students

79 students depend on SNAP benefits

40 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Owings Mills Elementary School

Enrollment: 784 students

505 students qualify for Free Meals, 64.5% of all students

244 students depend on SNAP benefits

31    students currently experiencing homelessness

Total numbers for Network Schools

 3,011 students live in severe poverty (qualify for Free Meals in school)

1,309 students depend on SNAP benefits (extreme poverty)

317 students currently identified as homeless

 

In 2018, the Student Support Network funded over 10,000 visits and requests for assistance at Network schools, with over $123,000 in monetary and in-kind donations.

Garage of a volunteer before delivery.

2016, Loch Raven Network Adopt A Family Holiday Program

Our History

The Student Support Network began as the Loch Raven Network, a holiday project begun by Laurie Taylor-Mitchell in December of 2015 to assist students at Loch Raven High School. A request for 4 volunteers to help 5 students and families, either homeless or in dire need, led to 17 days of donations before the project ended Dec. 20. In that time, 128 volunteers donated food baskets; baskets/ bags with laundry detergent and toiletries requested by 25 families; gift bags for homeless students; winter clothing, sheets and blankets, and dozens of smaller gifts (total value in the thousands); and monetary donations of over $6000. The Loch Raven Network became a non-profit (501c3) organization in October of 2016. Its change to the Student Support Network resulted from the growth to programs operating in three schools: Loch Raven High School, Parkville High School, and Pine Grove Middle School. The Network has since grown to seven schools with the inclusion of Loch Raven Technical Academy, Dumbarton Middle School, Owings Mills Elementary School, and Halstead Academy. The Student Support Network receives assistance from local churches, community groups and foundations, and individual volunteers who have donated funds, in-kind donations, and their time to the Network.