RELEASE: Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland and Former Baltimore Raven, Qadry Ismail Celebrates First Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) Day at Germantown Elementary School
Karen Soneira, Principal, Germantown Elementary School: “MMFA promotes our school breakfast program in the classroom, offering a healthy jump-start for kids that helps to increase engagement while learning through inquiry.”
February 14, 2017
Annapolis, MD – The Maryland Partnership to End Childhood Hunger organized the first ever Maryland Meals for Achievement Day (MMFA) to show love and appreciation for in-classroom breakfast. Students and staff of Germantown Elementary School welcomed state leaders including Maryland State Senators John Astle of Anne Arundel County and Joanne Benson of Prince George’s County. Attendees were encouraged to observe the MMFA program by eating breakfast with the students and then attend a ceremony with special guest, Qadry Ismai, Super Bowl Champion and former Ravens Wide Receiver. All guest are encouraged to post pictures and message about in-classroom breakfast using the hashtag #iLoveMMFA
The event at Germantown Elementary School celebrated the importance of in-classroom breakfast by making special Valentines where the students expressed why breakfast is important. During the ceremony, select students read their Valentines to the state leaders. Principal of Germantown Elementary, Karen Soneira, also read quotes from students on why they need breakfast to start the day. “Anne Arundel County Public School’s breakfast program provides the healthy energy our students need to get their school day off to a positive start. Our kids enjoy the many healthy breakfast choices the breakfast program offers,” said Mrs. Soneria. Germantown Elementary is just one of 46 schools in Anne Arundel County that offer MMFA. Total of 461 statewide.
Jodi Risse, Director, Food and Nutrition Services, Anne Arundel County said “last year Anne Arundel County Public Schools served over 3.8 million breakfasts. Breakfast, both in the cafeteria and in the classroom, provide our students with the fuel they need to stay active and achieve.”
"As an athlete, breakfast is important because a morning dose of valuable nutrients through milk or yogurt gives the brain the energy it needs to get the body back in motion and the brain back to learning," said Qadry Ismail after he lead an energizing physical activity. “Eating breakfast fuels kids and helps them start the day with the energy they need to be active, learn and perform well in the classroom.”
MMFA is a state-funded, nationally modeled breakfast program that provides free, universal in-classroom breakfast to all students in participating low-income schools across the 23 districts of Maryland. For a school to apply for MMFA, 40% of the school’s student body must be eligible for Free or Reduce-Price Meals (FARMs). One in six kids in Maryland live in families that struggle with hunger.
Research shows that this hunger has long-term ramifications on children, including lower test scores, weaker attendance rates, and a higher risk of hospitalizations and chronic diseases. The MMFA program ensures that kids get the morning nutrition they need. However, just over half of the schools eligible for MMFA are enrolled because of state funding restrictions.
“The Partnership is committed to ending childhood hunger in Maryland and programs like MMFA are vital to achieving our goal,” said Nicete Moodie, Co-Chair of the Partnership’s Breakfast Workgroup. “We know that when students start the day with breakfast, that there are less behavioral problems and an increase in test scores and attention span. We hope that by raising awareness of this great program, our state leaders will invest more to ensure all eligible schools are able to enroll.”
The Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland is a coalition of food-service providers, non-profits, community groups, advocates, faith communities, public and civic agencies that actively collaborate to end childhood hunger. The Partnership has prioritized enhancing food access by working towards expanding participation in school breakfast, after school, summer meals, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program and Food Supplement Program (FSP) for Marylanders.