Maryland Earns a B in School Breakfast Participation among Low-Income Students
Contact: Sara McGovern, (202) 640-1089; firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltimore, Md. – October 1, 2015 – Nearly two-thirds of all low-income Maryland students who participate in school lunch also participate in school breakfast, according to a new report released today by Maryland Hunger Solutions. The report, Reducing Childhood Hunger with the School Breakfast Program: Maryland’s Report Card (pdf), gave the state a B in overall breakfast participation during the 2014-2015 school year.
Statewide, 65 low-income students participated in the School Breakfast Program for every 100 students who participated in the School Lunch Program during the 2014-2015 school year, an increase from 60:100 last school year.
“Expanding participation in breakfast is one of the best ways to ensure that Maryland’s children are healthy and ready to learn,” said Michael J. Wilson, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “Our new report highlights two proven approaches to increasing participation in the school breakfast program – serving breakfast in the classroom and implementing the Community Eligibility Provision. More schools across Maryland should adopt these strategies so more children can start the day with breakfast.”
The report shows that counties with widespread use of the breakfast in the classroom model had the most success in increasing participation in school breakfast. For example, schools participating in Maryland Meals for Achievement – a state-funded program that supports breakfast in the classroom – had significantly higher participation rates in school breakfast. Not only does breakfast in the classroom increase participation, but research shows that there are many additional positive benefits for children, schools, and communities. For example, children who participate in school breakfast are better able to learn, exhibit better behavior in school, consume a healthier diet, and demonstrate a better academic performance.
A new option for schools to increase breakfast participation is the Community Eligibility Provision. This federal school meal funding option allows high-poverty schools to provide breakfast and lunch at no cost to all students. Two hundred and twenty-seven schools in Maryland, with more than 97,000 students, have elected the Community Eligibility Provision this school year and are now Hunger-Free Schools. Many schools in Washington County have elected this option, as well as the entire district of both Somerset County and Baltimore City Public Schools.
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Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center, works to end hunger and promote well-being in Maryland. For more information, visit www.mdhungersolutions.org or follow us on Twitter.