Campaign Pushes for Innovative Program That Makes Breakfast Part of the School Day for High-Need Schools
BALTIMORE, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Share Our Strength, the Maryland State Education Association, Maryland Hunger Solutions, Advocates for Children and Youth, Sodexo Foundation and other groups today kicked off Breakfast For Success , a statewide campaign aimed at increasing funding by $1.8 million for Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA), an innovative state-funded program that makes breakfast a part of the school day for Maryland kids.
"Just over half of Maryland students who receive a free or reduced-price school lunch are participating in the School Breakfast Program," said Anne Sheridan, Director of Share Our Strength's Maryland No Kid Hungry campaign. " Maryland Meals for Achievement allows high-need schools to offer free, in-classroom breakfast which ensures that all students are starting the day ready to learn."
Three in five Maryland teachers regularly see kids come to the classroom hungry, according to a recent survey by Share Our Strength. The same study showed that nine in 10 teachers also say that breakfast is key to academic success. They credit breakfast with increased concentration (95%), better academic performance (89%) and better behavior in the classroom (73%).It is estimated that the proposed $1.8 million increase in funding would benefit more than 50,000 children in high-need schools across the state. "What we know is that being hungry makes it harder to learn," said Betty Weller, President of the Maryland State Education Association. " Maryland Meals for Achievement schools are in areas with a significant concentration of low-income children, so we know the need is high. Our leaders need to do everything they can to make sure our students start the day ready to learn, especially in schools where children are at a higher risk of hunger." Many students do not participate in the School Breakfast Program due to tight morning scheduling, cafeteria capacity, and fear of being stigmatized. MMFA reduces these barriers by making breakfast free for all students in the classrooms of select, high-need schools.