Maryland Hunger Solutions Urges General Assembly to Preserve Funding for Vital Program
Baltimore, Md. – January 19, 2012 – Maryland Hunger Solutions applauds Governor Martin O’Malley for including an increase in funding for the Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) program in his FY2013 budget proposal, an important step forward in the state’s effort to end hunger.
The budget includes a 20 percent increase in funding for MMFA (an additional $560,000), a state program that supports breakfast in the classroom initiatives. The benefits of MMFA are clear – according to a report by Maryland Hunger Solutions, counties with a greater percentage of schools participating in MMFA also had higher participation rates in school breakfast. But the program’s reach has been hampered by low funding. During the 2011-2012 school year, only 228 of the 780 schools that are eligible to participate in the MMFA program were able to participate because of budget limitations.
The additional funding would enable 46 more eligible schools to participate and provide in-classroom breakfast to 20,000 more children, according to the Maryland State Department of Education.
“Participation in school breakfast soars when the meal is moved out of the cafeteria and becomes part of the scheduled school day. An increase in funding for MMFA means that more children will start the day with a healthy morning meal by helping more schools receive the resources needed to provide free school breakfast to all of their students,” said MDHS Director Cathy Demeroto. “The Governor’s proposed increase will make a big difference to low-income children.”
A letter circulated by Maryland Hunger Solutions (MDHS) and signed by 13 leading anti-hunger and anti-poverty groups had urged the Governor to make MMFA a top priority in his FY 2013 budget. The letter, delivered to the Governor’s office in December 2011, was signed by: Maryland Hunger Solutions, Food Research and Action Center, Share Our Strength, Advocates for Children and Youth, Baltimore Cash Campaign, Capital Area Food Bank, Interfaith Works, Maryland Cash Campaign, Maryland Food Bank, Maryland Hunger Solutions, Maryland No Kid Hungry Campaign, Maryland State Education Association, Maryland Out of School Time Network, and Seedco.. Mostof the organizations that signed the letter are members of the Maryland Partnership to End Childhood Hunger.
“Breakfast boosts test scores and learning, reduces school nurse visits, and positively affects every aspect of school. MMFA helps more children benefit from breakfast, and we urge the General Assembly to preserve this critical funding that the Governor has included in his budget,” said Demeroto.