For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara McGovern, 202-640-1089; firstname.lastname@example.org
Annapolis, Md. – February 5, 2013 – As the Maryland General Assembly considers implementing the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) across the state, Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions testified on the benefits of CEP.
Community Eligibility allows high-poverty schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students without the need for individual applications, and would support Maryland’s efforts to expand participation in school meals, notes Maryland Hunger Solutions.
“Community Eligibility is an exciting new way for states and schools to create hunger free environments that promote student health and learning,” said Michael J. Wilson, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “Maryland Hunger Solutions remains committed to establishing CEP to strengthen school breakfast participation throughout the state.”
A recent report released by FRAC – the School Breakfast Scorecard — found that states participating in CEP saw average daily school breakfast participation among low-income children increase by five percent, compared to 2.5 percent in all other states.
Maryland ranks 14th out of all 50 states in school breakfast participation during the 2012-2013 school year and increased the number of eligible kids by more than 12,000, but there is still room for improvement. Increasing participation to reach just 70 low-income children with breakfast for every 100 that eat lunch would lead to an additional 38,556 low-income Maryland children eating breakfast each day, and more than $9 million in additional federal child nutrition funding.
Implementing CEP would increase participation in school meals, and would boost learning and test scores, improve attendance and student behavior, and improve overall student health.
“The Community Eligibility Provision works, and would allow more low-income children to benefit from school meals,” said Wilson. “Governor O’Malley has made an important down-payment by increasing the budget for Maryland Meals for Achievement by $1.7 million for this year. We urge the members of the Maryland General Assembly to support that funding and to implement Community Eligibility so that more Maryland children start the day with a healthy breakfast and prepared to learn.”
Maryland Hunger Solutions is the lead research, public education, and advocacy group in Maryland, dedicated to using public programs to end hunger in Maryland. Maryland Hunger Solutions is an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center. To learn more about Maryland Hunger Solutions visit www.mdhungersolutions.org.