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

During the summer of 2020, The Network issued the following resolution:

The Student Support Network is committed through its mission to assist students in poverty and those experiencing homelessness in Baltimore County Public Schools and to advocate on their behalf. As part of this mission, the Network is resolved to improve communication, intentionally create inclusive programs, and work to end disparities in access to resources. The Network is particularly concerned about addressing the effects of poverty and homelessness disproportionately affecting students and families of color. The Network is also committed to practice honest and thoughtful reflection in considering its programs and advocacy, guided by the principle that creating an environment that can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people ultimately benefits everyone.

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, 2019-2020

*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.

Currently, 44% of all students attending BCPS live in poverty (51,469 students; of these, 24,860 qualify for SNAP).

 

Loch Raven High School

Enrollment: 864 students

309 students qualify for Free Meals, 35.7% of all students

139 students depend on SNAP benefits*

19 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Parkville High School

Enrollment: 2,116 students

1,069  students qualify for Free Meals, 50.5% of all students

358  students depend on SNAP benefits

250 currently experiencing homelessness

 

 Pine Grove Middle School

Enrollment: 955 students

355  students qualify for Free Meals, 37.1% of all students

163 students depend on SNAP benefits

16 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Halstead Academy

Enrollment: 522 Students

406 students qualify for Free Meals, 77.7% of all students

180 students depend on SNAP benefits

23 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Owings Mills High School

Enrollment: 1,211 students

585 students qualify for Free Meals, 48.3% of all students

227 students depend on SNAP benefits

53 students experiencing homelessness

Loch Raven Technical Academy

Enrollment: 826 students

486 students qualify for Free Meals, 58.8% of all students

243 students depend on SNAP benefits

20 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Dumbarton Middle School

Enrollment: 1,224 students

235 students qualify for Free Meals, 19.2% of all students

80 students depend on SNAP benefits

19 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Owings Mills Elementary School

Enrollment: 800 students

498 students qualify for Free Meals, 62.2% of all students

207 students depend on SNAP benefits

31    students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Battle Monument School

Enrollment: 63 students

37 students qualify for Free Meals, 58.7% of all students

21 students depend on SNAP benefits

2 students currently experiencing homelessness

 

Pine Grove Elementary School (Joined Feb. 2020)

Enrollment: 609 students

189 students qualify for Free Meals, 31% of all students

74 students depend on SNAP benefits

5 students currently experiencing homelessness

Total numbers for Network Schools

 4,169 students live in severe poverty (qualify for Free Meals in school)

1,692 students depend on SNAP benefits (extreme poverty)

418 students currently identified as homeless

 

In 2019, the Student Support Network funded over 11,000 visits and requests for assistance at Network schools, with over $200,000 in monetary and in-kind donations.

Garage of a volunteer before delivery.

2016, Loch Raven Network Adopt A Family Holiday Program

Check out our new 2020 video, “The Student Support Network in Action!”, featuring Student Support Network Volunteers and Board!

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 ten schools with the inclusion of Loch Raven Technical Academy, Dumbarton Middle School, Owings Mills Elementary School, Halstead Academy, Battle Monument School, Owings Mills High School, and Pine Grove Elementary School. 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.

Student Support Network
1740 E. Joppa Road
Suite 200
Baltimore MD 21234

The Student Support Network is a registered non-profit 501(c) (3) tax-exempt charitable organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.