As a chef and a father, I understand how important healthy food is in the everyday lives of our children. But a recent survey by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign showed that three in five teachers, including those in my home state of Maryland, regularly see students come to school hungry.
Last February, I had the chance to testify in front of members of Maryland’s General Assembly in support of Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA), an innovative program that provides free breakfast in the classroom to make sure students start the day ready to learn.
Thanks to the support of Governor O’Malley and the Maryland State Department of Education, 271 Maryland schools are now participating in MMFA, more than ever before.
Despite its demonstrated success, more than 500 high-need schools are still missing out on MMFA because of the lack of funding.
Today we are launching the Breakfast For Success campaign with partners across Maryland because in just over a month, legislators will once again convene in Annapolis and take up Governor O’Malley’s proposed budget. We have a chance to make sure Maryland’s most vulnerable kids have a voice when that happens.
Teachers and principals know that students’ attention, performance and behavior are improved when schools make breakfast part of the school day. By moving breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom, we make it easier for all kids to eat breakfast so they don’t have to be embarrassed or worry about getting to school too late to eat. And when kids eat breakfast, they feel better and learn more, which leads to a stronger, healthier country.
Together we are asking Governor O’Malley and State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery to make breakfast part of the school day by supporting an increase of $1.8 million for Maryland Meals for Achievement in their 2014 budget.
If you or someone you know lives in Maryland, please contact Governor O’Malley and Dr. Lowery and ask them to support Maryland Meals for Achievement, and share this video and infographic on the facts about school breakfast in Maryland.
An investment in breakfast is an investment in education, health and ultimately, the economic success of our country. It’s a simple equation. Breakfast equals success.