Maryland Hunger Solutions Applauds Governor O’Malley
They applaud O’Malley For Recognizing Importance of School Breakfast with Increased Investment in Maryland Meals for Achievement Program. New Report Shows Maryland Making Good Progress in School Breakfast Participation, Additional Funding will Allow More Low-income Children to Start the Day Ready to Learn
Baltimore, Md. – January 16, 2013 – Governor Martin O’Malley’s FY2014 budget released today contains a $1.8 million funding increase for Maryland Meals for Achievement Program (MMFA), a state-funded program that provides breakfast free to all students in the classroom. Increasing funding for this valuable program would enable more Maryland children to eat a nutritious breakfast at school, noted Maryland Hunger Solutions.
“Through increased funding for breakfast in the classroom, Governor O’Malley continues to demonstrate his commitment to ending childhood hunger in Maryland,” said Cathy Demeroto, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “Maryland Hunger Solutions thanks the Governor for including this additional funding and thanks our partners for helping to make MMFA a priority for the state.”
Maryland Hunger Solutions, along with 23 other organizations, sent a letter to the Governor and to Maryland State Department of Education Superintendent Lowery requesting the $1.8 million increase for MMFA. Put in real terms, this increase means that 56,896 additional children would be able to start the day with a nutritious in-classroom breakfast during the 2013-2014 school year. “We urge the members of the Maryland General Assembly to support this increase so that more Maryland children start the day with a healthy breakfast and prepared to learn,” said Demeroto.
The budget request comes on the heels of new national data released this week by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) which documents continued progress in Maryland’s efforts to reach more low-income children with school breakfast, serving breakfast to more than half the number of low-income children that also received lunch during the 2011-2012 school year. This is up from 46.7 per 100 students during the previous school year. This increase moved Maryland’s rank among states from 24 last year up to 16.
The FRAC reports – the School Breakfast Scorecard and School Breakfast: Making it Work in Large School Districts – detailed several strategies that have emerged as contributing to higher participation rates. Chief among them is offering breakfast free of charge to all children, as well as moving breakfast out of the cafeteria and into the classroom after the bell.
These national findings echo Maryland Hunger Solutions’ earlier analysis of school breakfast participation in Maryland’s counties, which found that jurisdictions with widespread use of alternative delivery models (including MMFA) had the most success in increasing participation in school breakfast in Maryland.
“Breakfast in the classroom works, and the increased funding means more schools would be able to participate, and more low-income children would benefit from breakfast. On behalf of families throughout the state who will benefit from this funding, Maryland Hunger Solutions sends a huge thank you to Governor O’Malley for recognizing how crucial Maryland Meals for Achievement is to the state and our children.”