Howard County Food Bank Resumes Customer-Choice Shopping In May

Customers may once again shop and choose the items that they wish to feed their families

The Howard County Food Bank, operated by Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC), is proud to get back to full operations and offer “customer-choice shopping” just like any other grocery store. While groceries were pre-bagged during the height of the pandemic in an effort of extreme caution, CAC feels strongly that it’s important for families to choose the items they want, and it is ready to reinstate this model. All shopping trips after May 3 will once again be customer choice.

To support the health and wellness of customers and staff, the Howard County Food Bank has implemented: limits on the number of shoppers inside at one time, socially distanced check out, hand-washing and sanitizing, face coverings, and cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day.

“We are happy to welcome customers back into our marketplace so that they can select the choices that best suit their families,” said Carrie Ross, CAC’s director of the Howard County Food Bank.

Often considered a thoroughly affluent county, the truth is that 33% of the community is struggling to make ends meet in Howard County, and 5.5% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. From the onset of this pandemic, CAC has pivoted to meet the ever-changing needs of Howard County residents. They adjusted their service delivery method across all programs. The Howard County Food Bank remained fully operational. They quickly shifted from a customer-choice shopping model in which residents could enter our food bank and choose foods as if they were in a grocery store to providing prepackaged food kits to our families. Partnering with the Howard County Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) stakeholders they also set up 52 pop-up pantries across the county, bringing food to over 20,000 Howard County residents. This past year, they supported approximately 52,000 individuals, more than a 40% increase from the year prior.

Families who may qualify should visit or call 410-313-6440 for more details.

About the Community Action Council of Howard County:

Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) was created in 1965 as Howard County’s designated anti-poverty agency. Our mission is to diminish poverty, enable self-sufficiency and advocate for low-income families and individuals. CAC provides a multi-generational, family-focused approached with services for more than 40,000 residents by running the Howard County Food Bank and 14 affiliated food pantries, administering a Head Start and Pre-K program for more than 300 children, offering energy/weatherization assistance and providing housing assistance. For more information about CAC, please visit or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.