I am writing to urge your support of The Maryland Cares for Kids Act (in 2017, House Bill 288 and Senate Bill 360), legislation that will increase access to school meals by removing the school meal co-pays for over 45,000 low-income families statewide.
Participation in school breakfast and lunch are proven interventions to support student health and learning. In addition, school meals are an effective strategy to reduce food insecurity - the lack of reliable access to healthy food - a condition that affects 17% of all U.S. households with children (2013-2015, USDA).
Unfortunately, many families who qualify for "reduced-price" meals still struggle to make ends meet, which means that many students often go without the food they need. A single parent with one child that earns $22,000 a year must still pay for their child to eat school meals. However, these families are often struggling to make ends meet and are unable to afford the fees, especially in areas with a high cost of living.
The Maryland Cares for Kids Act increases access to school meals for children in low-income families by removing a key barrier to access -- the cost of the meal itself.
Approximately, $3.3M in state funding will directly support the education and health of low-income children state-wide.
I urge your support of The Maryland Cares for Kids Act.