Despite an increase in participation, still less than half of all Maryland students eligible for the national School Breakfast program are taking advantage. During the 2007-2008 school year, 44-percent of eligible low-income students in Maryland participated in the program, according to the School Breakfast Scorecard. Maryland’s performance was just below the national average of 46-percent. The scorecard is issued annually by the Food Research and Action Center to measure national and state trends in school breakfast.
Participation in Maryland counties varied widely from a high of 71-percent in Somerset County to a low of 20-percent in Howard County. Talbot County ranked 10th in the state at 50-percent; Dorchester County ranked second at 70-percent; Caroline County ranked 15th at 44-percent; Queen Anne’s County ranked 18th at 42-percent; and, Kent County ranked third at 68-percent.
Maryland Hunger Solutions and the Food Research and Action Center are calling for Congress to increase funding for school meals and other child nutrition programs. All the child nutrition programs, including the School Breakfast Program, are set to be re-authorized this year as part of Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Maryland Hunger Solutions also called on the state to reverse its funding cuts to the Maryland Meals for Achievement Program, which was cut by 10-percent at the end of last year.