BALTIMORE, May 7, 2018 — More low-income children in Maryland are starting their day with a healthy school breakfast. According to a report (pdf) released today by Maryland Hunger Solutions, 49 percent of low-income students in Maryland’s public schools participated in the national School Breakfast Program on an average school day in the 2016–2017 school year. Participation has risen consistently since the 2010–2011 school year, when less than one-third of low-income Maryland students participated in school breakfast. Caroline, Kent, and Somerset counties reached over 70 percent of low-income students with school breakfast.
Creating Healthier Students & Better Learners with the School Breakfast Program: School Breakfast Report Card for Maryland (pdf) measures the state’s progress in reaching the nearly 400,000 low-income students with school breakfast to ensure they start the day ready to learn. While the state has made great strides in expanding school breakfast participation, there is more work to do. More than 200,000 low-income children in Maryland are still not participating in school breakfast.
“School breakfast means less hunger, better health, and improved educational outcomes for our children,” said Michael J. Wilson, director, Maryland Hunger Solutions. “We strongly encourage more schools across the state to offer breakfast at no charge to all students and serve breakfast after the school day begins so that more children may reap the many benefits of school breakfast.”
The report includes a school breakfast report card for the state and for each of Maryland’s school districts, with grades given in three categories: low-income student participation; use of Maryland Meals for Achievement, a state-funded program that provides breakfast in the classroom at no charge to all students in high-poverty schools; and adoption of the federal Community Eligibility Provision, which allows high-poverty schools to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students.
Dorchester County Public Schools and Garrett County Public Schools are the only districts to earn straight A’s in each of the three categories. Maryland received an overall grade of a C+ for low-income student participation in the School Breakfast Program.
Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research & Action Center, works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland.