School Breakfast Report Ranks Maryland 14th
BALTIMORE - Maryland's school breakfast ranking shows a lot to be proud of.
A scorecard released today from the Food Research and Action Center shows that more low-income students are participating in school breakfast programs, and the state is ranked 14th in the nation for its participation rate.
While nearly 162,000 students are receiving nutritious breakfasts, but Michael J. Wilson, executive director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, said thousands more need to be served.
"There are still more than 120,000 kids who are eligible who are not getting the breakfast that they deserve," he said, "and that's a problem."
Gov. Martin O'Malley supports more funding for school breakfast, and Wilson said creativity also helps - such as serving breakfast in classrooms.
Wilson said parents should talk with school officials if breakfast is not available - or readily available. He pointed out the benefits.
"We know there are academic achievements," he said. "We know there are health outcomes which are better. We know that there's a social situation in the school that's better. It's a win-win-win. We've just to work hard to get there."
FRAC president Jim Weill said timing also counts in making sure children eat school breakfast, and it takes flexibility.
"Like serving breakfast after the bell, bringing it in from the cafeteria, or - for older kids - off carts in the hallways," he said. "Offering it free to all students, rather than having a stigmatizing means test."
The scorecard examined how many students receiving free or reduced-price lunches also were being served breakfast.
The scorecard is online at FRAC.org.