Parents and Community Leaders Come Together to Strengthen School Breakfast Programs in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara McGovern, (202) 986-2200, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beltsville, Md. – November 19, 2013 – Parents and community leaders from Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia joined education officials and national and state based anti-hunger advocates to discuss the importance of school breakfast in combating hunger and preparing students to learn and how to improve participation in this program. The summit was catered by Prince George’s County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services.
At the School Breakfast Summit for Parents and Community Leaders, participants discussed existing local school breakfast initiatives, implementation strategies for future programs, and ways to engage parents and increase community involvement in the expansion of school breakfast. Attendees discussed plans to administer school breakfast and to organize alternative breakfast serving models. These plans are designed to increase participation in school breakfast throughout the region.
Breakfast in the classroom, as well as other alternative ways to serve breakfast, emerged as one of the core ways to get more children eating this important meal, which has benefits for education and health. Research shows that eating breakfast improves math grades, vocabulary skills, and memory. Children who participate in school breakfast eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume a wider variety of foods than those who do not eat school breakfast or who have breakfast at home.
“For the last several years Maryland Hunger Solutions has worked closely with partners like MSDE and now Action for Healthy Kids to increase the number of children participating in breakfast,” said Michael J. Wilson, director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. “By promoting, advocating for, and providing technical assistance with implementation of alternative serving models, tens of thousands more children are eating school breakfasts in Maryland. But there are tens of thousands more kids who can benefit from breakfast in the schools. We have a responsibility to help them have a good start too.”
Speakers also discussed a new national report (pdf) from the Food Research and Action Center and The National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation (NAESPF) that surveyed principals in 15 school districts, including Prince George’s County. This study found that 78 percent of principals would recommend Breakfast in the Classroom programs. Principals noted an increase in breakfast participation, fewer reports of student hunger, fewer tardy students, improved student attentiveness, and an improved school and classroom environment.
The School Breakfast Summit was hosted by Action for Healthy Kids, with additional support from Maryland Hunger Solutions, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland State Department of Education.
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Maryland Hunger Solutions is the lead research, public education, and advocacy group in Maryland, dedicated to using public programs to end hunger in Maryland. Maryland Hunger Solutions is an initiative of the Food Research and Action Center.