Governor Martin O'Malley today announced that Maryland is two-thirds of the way (66 percent) toward the Administration's goal to end childhood hunger in Maryland by 2015. The Governor also released a video to demonstrate Maryland's continued progress and commitment to this goal.
"One hungry child is one too many, "said Governor O'Malley. "In Maryland, we believe that there is no such thing as a spare American. Because of its connection to student achievement, workforce strength, physical health, and behavioral health, we've made eradicating childhood hunger a priority in our State. Together, we've dedicated the resources and implemented the plan to expand access to food assistance programs, provide all children in Maryland access to a healthy breakfast, and expand access to meal programs for pregnant women, new mothers, and children throughout our State."
Governor O'Malley's five-part plan to end childhood hunger includes:
Providing all children in Maryland with access to a healthy breakfast;
Expanding the reach of summer meals programs for youth by serving 1 million addition meals;
Expanding access to nutritious food for pregnant women, new mothers, children and youth;
Enhancing working families' economic security through expanded utilization of the Earned Income Tax Credit; and
Ensuring that all eligible families with children have access to supplemental food assistance.
In the FY13 budget, Maryland doubled the annual grant to the Maryland Food Bank to $2 million and more than doubled state funding for Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Since 2007, 36 percent more Maryland students are eating breakfast at school and 25 percent more are eating lunch at school. Participation in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program has increased by 80 percent since the program began in 2009. Maryland's summer meals program has hundreds of sites across the state to reach kids when school is closed during the summer months. Since 2007, participation in the summer meals program has increased 29 percent.
Governor O'Malley is the first governor in the nation to commit to ending childhood hunger within a state's borders. In November of 2008, Governor O'Malley established the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger with Share our Strength. The Maryland partnership includes community groups, activists and food programs working together to identify children at risk of hunger, and ensure they have nutritious food where they live, learn and play.
Governor O'Malley was also recently featured in the documentary "Hunger Hits Home" in partnership with Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign.