Press Release: National Child And Adult Care Food Program Week: March 15-21, 2015
Highlighting Maryland's Need to Address Food Insecurity for At-Risk Populations
For Immediate Release Contact: William Reinhard, 410-767-0486, Amee Madura, 410-767-0208
Baltimore, MD (March 13, 2015)
For more than 30 years, low-income children and elderly and disabled adults across Maryland who might otherwise suffer from food insecurity and poor nutrition have received nutritious meals in child and adult day-care settings, thanks to the state’s participation in the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.
“Providing access to regular, nutritious meals is vitally important to the health and well-being of growing children as well as the elderly and other adults who face challenges in providing for themselves,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery. “This week, we are acknowledging the ongoing need many vulnerable Marylanders face when it comes to securing nutritious meals, and the importance that good nutrition plays in their overall health.”
In 2014 alone, over 20,000 children (birth to 12) and eligible adults in Maryland were served more than 10 million breakfasts and lunches in more than 600 licensed day care centers statewide.
In 2010, with passage of the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the federally subsidized meal program expanded to provide snacks and suppers to Maryland’s most at-risk children. Since then, this program has grown significantly to meet an ongoing need. Between 2012 and 2014, for example, the supper program alone served nearly an additional 5,800 children—for a total of more than 27,000 served last year.
The greatest increases in suppers served occurred in Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, Anne Arundel County, and Washington County.
For example, at the Love Never Fails Learning Center, a state-licensed day care provider in Temple Hills, Prince George’s County, access to better nutrition has been instrumental in helping children achieve healthy weights, and improve behavior. The Center serves breakfast, lunch, and supper to enrolled children.
“As newly enrolled students get more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in their diet, we see a noticeable improvement in their behavior and their academic performance,” said Rev. Patricia A. Duncan, President of the Love Never Fails center.
Programs such as this one provide a much-needed safety net for many vulnerable children in Maryland. According to the Maryland Equity Project, a research and policy center at the University of Maryland’s College of Education, the enrolled public school population is growing poorer. In 2010, 40 percent of students were from low-income families—almost double the rate two decades earlier. Every school district in Maryland saw an increase in the percentage of low-income students.
The Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of School and Community Nutrition Programs administers seven federal food and nutrition programs in Maryland. The Branch works with the state’s 24 public school systems, nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions, child and adult day care centers, family child care homes, and other organizations across the state. Program sponsors received approximately $53.6 million in federal dollars in 2014 through the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program.
To learn more about the Child and Adult Care Food Program, visit the USDA’s program page, http://www.fns.usda.gov/cacfp/child-and-adult-care-food-program.
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