No child in our state should experience food insecurity - the lack of reliable access to healthy food.
The school breakfast program reduces food insecurity, improves health, and boosts school performance. Yet, high school students are significantly less likely to participate.
Therefore, I am writing to urge your support of The Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) for Teens Act (HB 257), legislation that will increase access to school breakfast in low-income secondary schools across the state.
Maryland Meals for Achievement currently provides universal access to breakfast in the classroom in more than 460 schools statewide. The program has benefited students for nearly 20 years and is successful because it eliminates the three most significant barriers to school breakfast: 1) stigma, 2) the cost of the meal, and 3) the timing that breakfast is served.
MMFA is a smart investment: for every dollar, $5.46 is returned in federal reimbursements.
Students at Maryland Meals for Achievement schools demonstrate better educational performance, improved health, and fewer behavioral issues. Yet, only 24% of eligible high schools benefit from this successful program.
Current law requires participating schools to deliver and serve breakfast in every classroom. This bill will increase access to school breakfast by allowing secondary schools to use a "Grab and Go Breakfast" to serve students more efficiently and offer a wider variety of choice.
With an additional $2.7M in funding, this bill will allow 90,000 additional students in 93 high-poverty high schools to start their day ready to learn.
I urge your support of The Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) for Teens Act.