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.
Room of Support with Food, Loch Raven HS
Why We Do What We Do
2018: Poverty, food insecurity and homelessness in Baltimore County Public Schools
(Compiled by Dr. Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, President, Student Support Network)
Almost 50,000 students (43.7% of all students) qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals in Baltimore County Public Schools.
- Schools with 50% or more of students in severe poverty: 86 schools
- Schools with 40-49% of students in severe poverty: 21 schools
- Schools with 30-39% of students in severe poverty: 18 schools
- Schools with 20-29% of students in severe poverty: 14 schools
- Schools with 10-19% of students in severe poverty: 13 schools
Number of schools with less than 10% of students in severe poverty: 13 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 40% of all families (United Way of Maryland). In Towson, 36% of all families struggle financially.
Self-sufficient income for a family of four in MD: about $60,000 a year to meet basic needs – no savings possible.
Food insecurity: Defined as “the limited or uncertain access to healthy food” (Maryland Hunger Solutions), affects over 29,000 children, or 16.6% of all children in Baltimore County. 2016 Feeding America Map of Baltimore County Child Food Insecurity
Garage of a volunteer before delivery.
2016, Loch Raven Network Adopt A Family Holiday Program
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. The change to the Student Support Network resulted from the growth to programs now operating in three schools: Loch Raven High School, Parkville High School, and Pine Grove Middle 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.