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BALTIMORE, October 26, 2021 — A new report released today by the Food Research & Action Center shows an increase in participation in afterschool nutrition programs in Maryland. Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation report finds Maryland as the leader among four states who reached FRAC’s benchmark for serving afterschool suppers to at least 15 children for every 100 who participated in the school-day free or reduced-price school lunch program in October 2020 compared to October 2019. Maryland served 40.2 children to every 100 who participated in school lunch, an increase of over 50% than the previous year. Maryland served over 100,000 meals.
“Afterschool meal providers have done remarkable work over the past year under unprecedented circumstances. Afterschool suppers combined with afterschool programs are critical to overcome the educational and health impacts of the pandemic felt by too many children. Afterschool Nutrition Programs can meet the increased need we’ve seen since the onset of the pandemic,” said Maryland Hunger Solutions Director Michael J. Wilson.
The state of Maryland’s decision to maximize available waivers for meal services contributed to the exponential growth in Afterschool Nutrition Programs across Maryland, ensuring more children had access to the essential healthy foods needed to thrive in and out of the classroom. While participation in Afterschool Suppers varied significantly across the nation in October 2020, Maryland’s increase was significant in feeding children during the pandemic and emphasized the critical need to strengthen Afterschool Nutrition Programs.
Additional funding will create more opportunities for enrichment programs to offset pandemic-related hunger and continue to push Maryland forward in meeting the needs of children across the state. “Although we have made progress, we know that there is a lot of unmet need in our state.” said Wilson.
FRAC’s Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation report is available to read in full here.
About Maryland Hunger Solutions
Maryland Hunger Solutions works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of children and families in Maryland.
About Food Research & Action Center
The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.
About Afterschool Alliance
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.