Childhood Hunger in Maryland
Hunger reaches all corners of our state, and too often affects the youngest residents in Maryland. It's simply much harder for children at risk of hunger to thrive. In the wealthiest state in the country, more than 27 percent of children are living in poverty.1 Nearly 21 percent of households with children struggle to obtain enough food to provide regular, healthy meals for their family.2
The effects of hunger on children can be detrimental to their health, well-being, and lifelong success. Children struggling with hunger experience more behavioral problems, have greater school absences and tardiness, have lower math scores and are more likely to repeat a grade, are more likely to be hyperactive, and have more visits to the school nurse. Children living in food insecure homes are prone to being overweight or obese and suffer from chronic diseases, like diabetes and high cholesterol.
Good nutrition can make a lasting emotional, physical and mental difference throughout a child’s life. As a leader in the fight to end childhood hunger in the state, Maryland Hunger Solutions believes that a key strategy to combating hunger and improving nutrition is to increase the number of children participating in federal child nutrition programs -- ensuring that children have access to healthy food where they live, learn, play and pray.
The child nutrition programs (including the School Breakfast Program, Afterschool Meal Program, Summer Food Service Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program) are vitally important. Yet, these programs are not reaching as many children as they should. During the 2011-2012 school year, 358,373 children were eligible for free and reduced price school meals.3 Yet, for every 100 low-income children eating school lunch, only 46.8 were participating in the School Breakfast Program and only 20.6 received summer meals.
To increase participation, Maryland Hunger Solutions is raising awareness about these programs among families and communities and making it easier for children to access the programs for which they are eligible.
Maryland Hunger Solutions wants to work with your organization to address the issue of childhood hunger in your community.
- Technical Assistance: We can help you and your organization navigate the barriers with the federal child nutrition programs and develop solutions that enable you to maximize participation.
- Direct Outreach: We can help develop and implement strategies for direct outreach to your community to increase awareness of the availability of child nutrition programs.
- Education: We do one-on-one or group informational sessions about the federal child nutrition programs including eligibility, participation and best practices for implementation.
Contact Valerie Zeender (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information or to get your organization involved today.
1 American Community Survey 2010, U.S. Census Bureau
2 Food Hardship in America 2010, FRAC
3 SY 2011-2012 Free and Reduced Price Meal Data, Maryland State Department of Education