Contact: Sara McGovern, (202) 640-1089, firstname.lastname@example.org
BALTIMORE – February 26, 2016 – On Thursday, March 10th at 9:15am, nearly one million Marylanders – including every public school district in the state – will join Maryland Hunger Solutions for the third annual Hear the Maryland Crunch event. This state-wide, synchronized bite into an apple aims to raise awareness about the importance of school breakfast in the fight against childhood hunger.
“We invite everyone to show their support for ending child hunger by joining students, teachers, and partners throughout the state at 9:15am, just after the morning school bell, to Hear the Maryland Crunch!” said Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “Help spread the message that every child in Maryland should have access to a healthy breakfast every day. Share a photo of your best crunch face on social media using the hashtag #HearTheCrunch.”
According to a recent report entitled, “Reducing Childhood Hunger with the School Breakfast Program: Maryland’s Report Card” (pdf) increasing the number of children with access to school breakfast would help end childhood hunger, as well as boost learning and test scores, reduce school absences, and improve student behavior. “To improve the health and nutrition of Maryland’s children, improving access to the School Breakfast Program is the place to start,” added Wilson.
There are many successful strategies for increasing access to school breakfast. For instance, schools can make breakfast part of the school day by serving breakfast after the bell. Maryland Hunger Solutions supports Senate Bill 756/House Bill 1360, the Breakfast After the Bell Act, so that all students in high-poverty schools have access to a nutritious breakfast. Maryland Hunger Solutions also supports Senate Bill 755/House Bill 1325 which will use state funds to allow students that qualify for reduced-price meals to receive school meals at no cost. This bill will reduce child hunger for more than 54,000 students, including, for example, children with a single parent that earns just $20,449 – $29,101 annually.
Both federal and state funding are available to support school districts that want to expand access to school breakfast. For example, 471 schools benefit from the Maryland Meals for Achievement Program – state funding that allows schools to provide breakfast in the classroom. In addition, more than 97,000 students in our state benefit from the Community Eligibility Provision, federal funding that creates Hunger-Free Schools by allowing high-poverty schools to offer a free breakfast and lunch to all students.
Hundreds of schools are planning Hear the Maryland Crunch celebrations, including Northeast High School in Anne Arundel County, William Paca Elementary School in Prince George’s County, Princess Anne Elementary in Somerset County, and Boonsboro Middle School in Washington County. The extensive list of Hear the Maryland Crunch supporters includes Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – click here for her video testimonial.
Visit Maryland Hunger Solutions’ website to sign up to participate in the Hear the Maryland Crunch and learn more about how you can help ensure that all children get a healthy start to their day.