Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is challenging state schools to make sure hungry kids get a nutritious breakfast. Armando Trull has more on the program.
Last year, more than a quarter million school children in Maryland ate a free or reduced price lunch, but less than half of them began their school day on a full stomach. That worries child hunger advocates such as Anne Sheridan with Maryland's No Kid Hungry Campaign.
"It turns out that kids are coming to school hungry for a variety of reasons and they have breakfast available to them but they aren't taking advantage of it," says Sheridan.
Last year, 20 Maryland schools participated in the First Class Breakfast program. Cathy Demoroto is with Maryland Hunger Solution and she says good things have happened as a result: "Kids are performing better academically, they are more attentive their behavior has improved."
That's why Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley invited 60 principals from all over the state to breakfast at the state house. He's challenging them to expand the program to 150 new schools to, in his words, "Make sure that every child coming to school doesn't suffer for the lack of food. Doesn't have to try to learn reading and math on a totally empty stomach."
Bill Kreuter supervises food services for Charles County schools and he says the first Breakfast programs are tailored for each individual school: "The demographics of the school, what entrance do the kids use, can they go through the cafeteria line and take their food to the classroom, can they be met at the door with food."
If 150 new schools sign up for the First Class Breakfast program that could feed an additional 24,000 school kids in Maryland.