Reducing Childhood Hunger with the School Breakfast Program: Maryland’s Report Card
Maryland Earns a C+ in School Breakfast Participation among Low-Income Students
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sara McGovern, (202) 640-1089; firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltimore, Md. – December 10, 2014– More than half 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, gave an A+ to Kent, Somerset, Dorchester, and Garrett counties, while the state received a C+ in overall breakfast participation during the 2012-2013 school year.
Statewide, 57 low-income students participated in the School Breakfast Program for every 100 students who participated in the School Lunch Program during the 2012-2013 school year, an increase from 53:100 last school year. The state received a B for efforts to expand school breakfast participation through programs such as Maryland Meals for Achievement (pdf) and the Community Eligibility Provision.
“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 in the School Breakfast Program.
Not only does breakfast in the classroom increase participation, research shows that there are many additional positive benefits for children, schools, and communities. Children who participate in the School Breakfast Program:
- are better able to learn,
- exhibit better behavior at school,
- consume a healthier overall diet,
- demonstrate improved academic performance, and
- are less likely to be late to or absent from school.1
Another option for schools to increase breakfast participation is the Community Eligibility Provision. This federal program allows high-poverty schools to provide breakfast and lunch at no cost to all students. Twenty-three schools in Maryland, with more than 7,500 students, have elected the Community Eligibility Provision this school year and are now Hunger-Free Schools.2
The full analysis is available online at: www.mdhungersolutions.org______________________________________________________
1Food Research and Action Center. “Breakfast for Learning.” Retrieved from http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/breakfastforlearning.pdf.
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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 mdhungersolutions.org or follow us on Twitter.