Policy Brief: Breakfast in Maryland’s Counties
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for children, but only 43.7 eligible low-income Maryland children participated in the School Breakfast Program for every 100 who participated in the National School Lunch Program during the 2007-2008 school year. By county, the results varied widely. Howard County had just 20.39 percent of eligible children participating in school breakfast, while 70.88 percent in Somerset County participated. Click here for more information (pdf).
Maryland Food Stamp Program Participation: County Level Data – September 2008
In September 2008 food stamp participation at 389,298 persons was up over the month by 7,254 people (1.9 percent increase) and over the prior September 2007 by 54,780 people (16.4 percent). Maryland’s participation in the Food Stamp Program continues to grow tremendously.
At a time when more than 35 million people in the U.S. face a constant struggle against hunger, continuing to strengthen the reach of the Food Stamp Program is vital. Most recently, the weak economy and food price inflation are taking a toll on low-income households. The purchasing power of food stamp allotments is not keeping pace with food inflation. According to the regional Bureau of Labor Statistics press release (http://www.bls.gov/ro3/cpiwb.htm), the cost of food at home rose by 6.4 percent from September 2007 to September 2008 in the Washington/Baltimore metro area. Nationally, it rose by 7.1 percent over the same time period.
In September 2008 the largest increase in people participating in the Food Stamp Program in Maryland over the last year took place in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, Howard, and Cecil Counties.
As of October 1st, the name of the Food Stamp Program for Maryland has been changed to the Food Supplement Program due to the implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill. The name is not the only change to take effect. Other program improvements include increasing the minimum benefit and standard deduction, eliminating the cap on the dependent care deduction and excluding education and retirement accounts from countable resources. Click here for a summary on what the 2008 Farm Bill means for Maryland (pdf). .
AROUND THE STATE:
During these tough economic times, the priorities of alleviating hunger and increasing nutrition become all the more critical. Thus, Maryland Hunger Solutions invites all of our partners across the state to share their best practices; we will be sure to include them in future newsletters. Please email email@example.com with tips on what your agency is doing.
Manna Food Center’s Food Stamp Challenge
Dozens of residents throughout Montgomery County took on the task of living on a $25 food budget for the week as part of Manna Food Center’s Food Stamp Challenge in mid-September. The idea of the challenge was to bring attention to the growing problem of hunger in the county and to demonstrate how difficult it is to eat nutritiously on food stamps. Read about the experience on Manna’s blog.
Families agree to eat on food-stamp budget for a week (Gazette.net, September 24, 2008)
County budget gap $251M for fiscal ’10 (Gazette.net, September 24, 2008)
Family joins challenge to eat on Food Stamp budget (Gazette.net, September 30, 2008)
Maryland Hunger Solutions encourages all organizations to sponsor their own Food Stamp Challenge. Download FRAC’s Food Stamp Challenge Toolkit, Take the Challenge: Living on a Food Stamp Budget.
Centennial Lane Elementary School Pilots a Healthy Snack Program for Howard County
Centennial Lane Elementary School of Howard County added five new snacks to the school’s snack food selection that are made from whole grains, are low in sugar and fat, and are free of chemicals, additives and preservatives. The PTA were the organizers of the school’s Wellness Initiative Snack Program and introduced a new snack each day. CLES’s healthy snack initiative serves as a pilot program for the rest of the county.