Announces Significant Investment in Funding and Resources to Improve School Breakfast Programs
ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley hosted school principals and a diverse group of partners including the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland, Share Our Strength, Maryland Hunger Solutions, the Maryland State Department of Education, corporate leaders, and others at a breakfast today at the Maryland State House to encourage principals to improve their school breakfast programs as part of the First Class Breakfast Initiative and announce new resources and tools available to make breakfast more accessible to students.
"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet many of Maryland's children are coming to school hungry," said Governor O'Malley. "We are committed to making sure every child starts the school day ready to learn, but it will take all of us—principals, teachers, parents, state agencies, corporate partners, and nonprofit organizations—to make sure that our next generation has the essential nutrition they need to succeed in school."
"I am pleased to announce that in its second year, the First Class Breakfast Initiative has significantly expanded outreach efforts to help schools improve breakfast programs by increasing the number of targeted schools from 21 to 150," Governor O'Malley said. "Each school will receive up to $5,000 to implement new methods of serving school breakfast, such as Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab N' Go, which make breakfast a part of students' instructional time and have been shown to increase participation."
While the School Breakfast Program is available at schools across Maryland, according to a new analysis by Maryland Hunger Solutions released today of the 2010-2011 school year data only 46.8 low-income students in Maryland ate school breakfast for every 100 students who ate school lunch.
"The reality is children face barriers that prevent them from getting breakfast at home and at school," said Cathy Demeroto, the Executive Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions. "Through the First Class Breakfast Initiative, we are providing schools with tools and resources to help them change the way they serve breakfast so more kids can participate."
Schools that participate in the School Breakfast Program, which is federally funded and administered nationally by the USDA, are reimbursed for meals served through the program. However, in 2011, the state of Maryland missed out on more than $8.5 million in federal funding because of low participation in the program.
When Share Our Strength polled U.S. middle school teachers in 2011, two-thirds said they taught children who regularly came to school hungry. Despite the availability of breakfast in school, there are several barriers to participation, including late school buses or incompatible transportation, tight morning schedules, a fear of being stigmatized for receiving a breakfast at school, and a preference to socialize instead of eat in the cafeteria.
"My school is seeing great results from the program," said Virginia De Los Santos, the principal of White Oak Middle School. "Students are excited to come to school, happy to have breakfast as part of their morning routine and are more focused in the classroom. The program has been a tremendous success for our school and made a big difference in the lives of our students."
The First Class Breakfast Initiative also features five full-time breakfast coordinators in Prince George's, Montgomery and Baltimore Counties, as well as Baltimore City, who will work one-on-one with each of the 150 targeted schools to help them adopt the delivery model most appropriate for their school.
"We know that each school has a unique set of circumstances and barriers to breakfast participation. Thanks to Governor O'Malley, we have been able to introduce individual principals to the initiative this morning and will work with each of them to determine which model is best for their school," said Anne Sheridan, the Maryland Director of the No Kid Hungry Campaign.
Governor O'Malley was the first governor to commit to ending childhood hunger in his state by 2015. As a result of his leadership on this issue, he is being featured prominently in the upcoming Food Network documentary, "Hunger Hits Home," which airs on April 14.
The First Class Breakfast Initiative is led by the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland, including the Governor's Office for Children, Share Our Strength, Maryland Hunger Solutions and the Maryland State Department of Education. The pilot of the Initiative was funded through support from Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, Walmart and Weight Watchers.
The Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland is funded by lead sponsors Walmart, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, and Sodexo Foundation, with support from Weight Watchers. Share Our Strength's national No Kid Hungry efforts are also supported by core partners ConAgra Foods Foundation, Walmart and the Food Network. Learn more about the Partnership's efforts to get more kids connected to the School Breakfast Program by going to www.NoKidHungryMd.org.
About Share Our Strength
Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit, is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Through its No Kid Hungry® campaign—a national effort to end childhood hunger in America—Share Our Strength ensures children in need are enrolled in effective federal nutrition programs; invests in community organizations fighting hunger; teaches families how to cook healthy, affordable meals; and builds public-private partnerships to end childhood hunger, at the state and city level. Working closely with the culinary industry and relying on the strength of its volunteers, Share Our Strength hosts innovative culinary fundraising events and develops pioneering cause marketing campaigns that support No Kid Hungry. Visit Strength.org to get involved.
About the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland
Led by the Governor's Office for Children and Share Our Strength, the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland is a strong and growing coalition of state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, advocacy groups and the private sector. The Partnership is working together to implement a five year plan for ending childhood hunger by increasing participation in federal nutrition programs. More about the Partnership's plan and the First Class Breakfast Initiative is available at www.NoKidHungryMD.org.
Ariane Holm | [email protected] |C: 571-213-6465 | O: 202-649-4350
SOURCE Share Our Strength