Eligible Maryland schools to provide free meals to all students

Maryland's Hunger-Free Schools Act makes it possible for low-income schools to provide free meals to all students, cutting down on hunger and embarrassment. 

Angeli Wright/AP
A student pays for his school lunch in a middle school cafeteria.

As anyone who has spent time in a classroom knows, a student learns better on a full stomach.

A June 2013 survey of K-8 public-school teachers across the nation reveals that 40 percent of those surveyed considered hunger a serious problem in their classrooms. Fifty-six percent said that many or most of their students depended on school meals as their primary source of nutrition.

Maryland's Hunger-Free Schools Act, set to take effect today, will make it possible for entire schools and school districts to provide free meals to students.

Maryland Delegate Keith Haynes told WMDT 47 that many students eligible for free lunch programs “choose not to participate because of the stigma.”

Lawmakers reason that this embarrassment could be eliminated if schools were to provide free meals to the entire student body. 

The bill comes five years after President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which increased per meal reimbursement by six cents for national school lunch and breakfast programs and introduced the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, high-poverty schools and school districts in all states were eligible to participate in the CEP. Eleven states have so far implemented the CEP, including Maryland, with its Hunger-Free Schools Act.

The act also eliminated individual applications for meal programs. Instead, at least 40 percent of the population of participating schools must qualify as low-income.

In Wisconsin, Milwaukee Public Schools implemented free lunch and breakfast at 156 schools, under CEP.

Milwaukee Public Schools Acting Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver told Fox 6, “Having every student come to school well nourished and ready to learn is absolutely critical to students’ well-being – and it’s critical to our work to improve student outcomes ... Children who are hungry can’t concentrate on learning. They’re focused on their hunger. We’re proud to help lead the effort to ensure that doesn’t happen"

Maryland had operated pilot programs that were successful in the 2014-2015 school year, and looks to expand the program to other eligible schools. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Eligible Maryland schools to provide free meals to all students
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today