Montgomery County Community Action

Montgomery County Community Action

Thursday, June 30, 2016

1 in 8 MD Households Struggle to Afford Food - New Report from FRAC

Survey Finds Nearly 1 in 8 Maryland Households Struggle to Afford Food
New Data Underscore Need to Protect and Improve Federal Nutrition Programs

BALTIMORE, June 30, 2016
— The food hardship rate in Maryland dropped from 14 percent in 2014 to 12.8 percent in 2015, but still too many people across the state reported in 2015 that they struggled to afford enough food for their households, according to a new report,
How Hungry is America? (pdf), released today by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). 

The report provides data on food hardship — the inability to afford enough food — for the nation, every state, the District of Columbia, and 109 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), including Baltimore-Columbia-Towson in Maryland. The report found that nationally the food hardship rate was 16 percent in 2015, dipping three points from 18.9 percent in 2013, and the lowest rate since early 2008. Despite the improvement, the report reveals that still no corner of the country is immune to hunger.

The report’s data reveals:

Maryland was among the states with the lowest levels of food hardship, and ranked 42 out of 50, with 12.8 percent in the state in 2014 reporting they were unable to afford enough food.

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson ranked 85th out of 109 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), with a food hardship rate of 14.3 percent for 2014-2015.

“It’s good that we’re making progress, but it is unacceptable that there are still too many people across Maryland who cannot afford enough food to provide for their families,” said Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “These data are more than just numbers. They are households with children, seniors, veterans, working adults, and people with disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Maryland Hunger Solutions is urging Congress to do right by their constituents by protecting and strengthening federal nutrition programs, such as the Food Supplement Program in Maryland, and school meals programs. 

“In the face of Congressional inaction, we are glad that Governor Hogan and the state legislature are taking action by adding a state supplement to the minimum food stamp benefit and supporting the community eligibility provision for schools in our state,” said Wilson.
Maryland Hunger Solutions is also urging organizations to
join a statewide letter to the Maryland Congressional delegation in opposition to the House effort to reauthorize child nutrition programs.

“Food hardship is a problem in every corner of America. People are still struggling,” said Jim Weill, FRAC president, noting that too many Americans bear the brunt of insufficient wages, unemployment, involuntary part-time employment, and inadequate safety nets to lift or keep them out of poverty. “Congress must protect and strengthen nutrition programs and other programs that benefit low-income people, and build a strong safety net.”

How Hungry is America? contains data throughout 2015 for every state and 109 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing hundreds of households daily since January 2008. FRAC has analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” A “yes” answer to this question is considered to signal that the household experienced food hardship.

The full report is available at

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Registration TONIGHT for TESS Center Summer English Class

Registration begins TONIGHT for the FREE summer session intermediate level English class at TESS.

This program is in partnership with IMPACT Silver Spring.

Classes: Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, July 5 - August 23

Registration: TONIGHT, June 28, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

Where: The TESS Center, 8513 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring

For more information, please call 240-773-8260

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

TODAY! Summer Meals Program Kick-Off at the TESS Center

Starting TODAY, the TESS Center will distribute FREE lunches to children, Monday - Friday, 11 AM - 1 PM.

The Summer Meals Program will run through August 19.   

Lunches must be eaten at the Center and young children must be accompanied by a guardian.

For more information, please call 240-773-8260.

The TESS Center is located at 8513 Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring.

To find another Summer Meals site, please click HERE.

Friday, June 17, 2016

TESS Center Recruiting Volunteers for Summer Meals Program

Interested in volunteering and earning SSL hours?  

The TESS Center is recruiting high school volunteers to support the Summer Meals Program. 

Volunteers will assist with distribution of free lunches to children and with special activities.  Volunteers must be at least 15 years old.

Volunteer Hours: Weekdays, June 21 - August 19
10:30 AM - 1:30 PM

The TESS Center is located at 8513 Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring

For more information, please call 240-773-8260.

Brookings Institute Report - The Impact of the EITC on Fathers

Guest Post: Supporting Fathers through the 
Earned Income Tax Credit

This post was written by Natalie Holmes, a research analyst with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is often discussed in terms of its effects on single mothers. Father's Day provides a good reminder that millions of low-income working dads--and their children--also benefit from the EITC.

Using Brookings' MetroTax model, we estimate that 9.7 million working dads and their 17.9 million children were eligible to receive the EITC in 2014. Among these fathers, over half (57 percent) were projected to file joint returns, and the remaining 43 percent as heads of household. We also estimate that 3.8 million single male filers without qualifying children were EITC-eligible in the same year.

Although the majority of EITC-eligible fathers file joint tax returns, single dads are more likely than married dads to be EITC-eligible: We estimate that three in five single dads were potentially eligible to receive the EITC in 2014, compared to just over one in five married fathers, and one in eight single male filers without qualifying children.

Perhaps counterintuitively, this last group is not necessarily childless. A child can only be the "qualifying child" of one tax filer. Consequently, noncustodial parents, even those who provide support for their children, may not be able to claim them as qualifying children for the EITC.

This matters because the difference between the maximum credit for filers with qualifying children and those without is significant. Whereas the maximum credit for workers with three or more children will be nearly $6,300 in tax year 2016, it is just $506 for workers without qualifying children.

Recognition of the fact that "childless" filers may in fact be noncustodial parents is part of the rationale for bipartisan proposals to double the size of the EITC for workers without qualifying children. Millions of low-income working fathers and their children already benefit from the EITC each year; according to our analysis, doubling the credit for workers without qualifying children would benefit 14.4 million tax filers, increasing their average credit by $360.

To learn more about the EITC-eligible population, visit Brookings' EITC data interactive.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

TESS Center to Host FREE Summer ESL Class with IMPACT Silver Spring

The Takoma-East Silver Spring (TESS) Center will host an intermediate level ESL class with IMPACT Silver Spring beginning on Tuesday, July 5. 

Class registration will take place at the TESS Center on June 28 at 6:30 PM.

For more information, please call 240-773-8260.

WHAT: FREE Intermediate Level ESL Class

WHERE: The TESS Center
8513 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring

WHEN: Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
July 5 - August 23

*Registration Day - June 28 at 6:30 PM
**FREE child care provided during classes

Monday, June 13, 2016

Now Accepting Applications for the MD Community Fellows Program

In partnership with Maryland CASH, Community Action is seeking applications for a MD Community Fellows to serve the VITA program in 2016-2017.  The application is available for download HERE.  

Please see detailed information in English and Spanish below.

Recruitment for 2016-2017 applicants is now open for the Maryland Community Fellows Program, a partnership among the Maryland CASH Campaign, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and Community Action Agencies (CAAs). The Maryland Community Fellows Program began in 2009 as a way to increase the capacity of CAAs to offer free tax preparation and financial education as well as other asset building and human services to the communities they serve. The fellowship is an 8-month program. Fellows receive training on free tax preparation, financial education, and a $9,000 stipend. Placements are available in Montgomery County through the Department of Health & Human Services’ VITA Partnership through its Community Action Agency. Candidates must be currently enrolled in a degree program as a graduate student; or an undergraduate junior or senior for at least one semester during the program year

The deadline for submissions is June 20. To apply, please contact: Francesca Jean Baptiste,  tel. 443-692-9418.

El plazo para reclutar a los aplicantes del 2016-2017 está abierto para el Programa de Becario Comunitario de Maryland, una alianza de la campaña CASH de Maryland, el Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Comunitario de Maryland, y las Agencias de Acción Comunitaria (CAAs). El Programa de Becario Comunitario de Maryland empezó en el 2009 como una forma de incrementar la capacidad de los CAAs para ofrecer preparación de impuestos gratuita y educación financiera, así como para la creación de otros recursos y servicios humanos para las comunidades a las que sirven. Este internado es un programa de 8 meses. Los becarios reciben entrenamiento en preparación gratuita de impuestos , educación financiera, y un estipendio de $9,000. En el Condado de Montgomery las posiciones están disponibles a través del programa VITA, dentro de la Agencia de Acción Comunitaria, con el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos.  Los candidatos deben estar matriculados como estudiantes en un programa de maestría (graduate student); o en el tercer o cuarto año de un programa de licenciatura (undergraduate junior or senior) por al menos un semestre del año que dura el programa.

El último día para inscribirse es el 20 de Junio. Para aplicar por favor, contactar a Francesca Jean Baptiste,, tel. 443-692-9418.

Friday, June 10, 2016

TESS Center Distributing FREE Summer Meals to Children Beginning June 21

In partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools, the Takoma-East Silver Spring (TESS) Center will serve as a Summer Meals walk-in site.  

Children can receive a FREE bagged lunch every weekday, June 21 - August 19.

When: June 21 - August 19, Monday - Friday, 11 AM - 1 PM

Where: The TESS Center, 8513 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring

Who: Children 18 and younger

For more information, please call 240-773-8260

Thursday, June 9, 2016

African American Health Program Health Freedom Walk this Saturday, June 11

Health Freedom: A Path to Wellness 3-Mile Walk

When: Saturday, June 11
Warm-Up at 8:30 AM
Walk Begins at 9 AM 
Guided Hike Begins at 9:30 AM

Where: Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, Sandy Spring

Click HERE to register.

This event is hosted by the Montgomery County African American Health Program, Community Action's partner through the Office of Community Affairs.

Monday, June 6, 2016

VITA Scheduling Appointments for Amended, Prior Year & Current Year Returns

The Community Action VITA Program is now scheduling appointments for amended, prior year (2013 and 2014), and current year returns.  

Appointments will be available:

  • Tuesdays in Takoma Park, the TESS Center, 8513 Piney Branch Road, 11 AM - 4 PM
  • Fridays in Wheaton, the MidCounty Center, 2424 Reedie Drive, 11 AM - 4 PM

Please click HERE to schedule an appointment.  BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.  NO WALK-INS.

Please call 240-777-1123 for more information.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

FSP Benefits for Maryland Seniors to Increase October 1


Contact: Colleen Barton Sutton, (202) 640-1121,
ANNAPOLIS – May 27, 2016 – 18,000 seniors across the state will see their Food Supplement Program (FSP, formerly known as food stamps) benefits increase from $16 to $30 monthly after Maryland enacted Senate Bill 758 into law sponsored by Senator Richard S. Madaleno (D-18, Montgomery County). The bill requires the state to increase the minimum FSP benefit for seniors 62 and older, ensuring no older Marylanders receive less than $30 a month. Delegate Brooke Lierman (D-46, Baltimore City) sponsored the House version of this legislation.
“This is an important investment in the health and nutrition of our seniors experiencing poverty. We are extremely grateful that Members of the General Assembly made the well-being of Maryland seniors a priority.” said Michael J. Wilson, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “If you are 62 and over and received only $16 a month in SNAP benefits, this is likely the most important thing the legislature did for you and it will make a big difference in your life.”
Low-income seniors live in every jurisdiction of our state and are often forced to make difficult choices — choosing between food and vital medication, rent or other basic needs. As a result, many seniors turn to food banks or other emergency food providers to fill in the gaps, but far too many low-income seniors still struggle to make ends meet.
“We are looking forward to reaching out to eligible Marylanders to ensure that they benefit from this state supplement when it becomes effective later this year.” said Wilson. “Our witnesses – 89 year old Margaret from Bethesda and 62 year old Ronald from Baltimore – were representative of thousands of our neighbors who struggle to put food on the table. Thanks to this legislation, that struggle just became a little bit more bearable.’