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Maryland Hunger Solutions has released new school breakfast report cards to highlight how well public-school systems across the state ensured low-income students received healthy school breakfast in the 2018–2019 school year.

The Creating Healthier Students & Better Learners with the School Breakfast Program: Maryland School Breakfast Report finds that 61.8 low-income students ate school breakfast for every 100 who ate school lunch in Maryland in the 2018–2019 school year. Read on to see if your school system is making the grade and for recommendations on how to improve.

Find out your school system’s grade!

The overall grade for each school system reflects the level of success in reaching the national benchmark set by the Food Research & Action Center of reaching 70 low-income children with school breakfast for every 100 receiving school lunch.

We realize that traditional models aren’t compatible in the midst of the meal delivery methods being employed during Covid-19. We also know that COVID-19 has led to dramatically increasing childhood hunger in the state and across the country, causing schools to redouble their efforts now, and when they re-open to reach more low-income children with school breakfast. 

While our state has made strides to increase participation, there’s more work to be done to ensure more students have the nutrition they need in order to learn and thrive, both during the pandemic, as well as after the pandemic has ended.

The report recommends that:

  • all schools implement a breakfast after the bell service model, such as breakfast in the classroom, “grab and go,” or second chance breakfast;
  • eligible districts and schools provide free meals to all students by adopting community eligibility; and
  • eligible schools apply for Maryland Meals for Achievement funding to implement breakfast in the classroom at no charge.

The economic crisis, driving unemployment and lost wages, will make more school districts and schools eligible to implement community eligibility. The Community Eligibility Provision, also known as CEP, allows schools in high-poverty areas to offer nutritious meals to all students at no charge.

Schools and school districts should use every tool in their toolbox to reexamine community eligibility as a financially viable option to offset childhood hunger that has risen since the COVID-19 crisis.

Help us spread the word about the role school breakfast serves in helping students start their day ready to learn and the importance of CEP!

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Maryland Hunger Solutions is an initiative of the Food Research & Action Center.

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