By Mana Rabiee
Maryland's Governor Martin O'Malley is marking the one-year anniversary of his vow to end childhood hunger in his state by 2015.
O'Malley sat his 6-foot-1-inch frame on a miniature plastic chair and nibbled on chicken nuggets in front of a young and captive audience. He was at the Annapolis Child Care Center to highlight the gains made over the past year by a coalition called the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland.
"Ending childhood hunger is an issue that transcends politics," says O'Malley. "It's an issue that speaks to who we are and what we want to be, especially in tough times."
Since O'Malley's pledge a year ago, the coalition has added tens of thousands of children to various state and federal food programs--children who qualified for assistance but weren't enrolled.
"There are enough federal dollars available in Maryland to get us to the goal of eradicating childhood hunger by 2015--if only we connect those programs, connect those dollars, to the kids that otherwise are going to go to bed hungry," says O'Malley.
Maryland has more than 150,000 children living below the poverty level.