Free breakfast and lunch in county schools give it an A+

BALTIMORE — Somerset County Public Schools earned an A+ by serving an impressive 87.5 students breakfast for every 100 who ate school lunch. That’s according to the Maryland Hunger Solutions’ report card “Reducing Childhood Hunger with the School Breakfast Program.”

More than half of all low-income Maryland students who participate in school lunch also take breakfast, with Somerset joined by Dorchester, Kent and Garrett counties earning the A+ rating. Somerset’s participation in the free lunch for all program through the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a key factor in this.

“The CEP program has provided our school system the option to reach into a social issue and help our community,” said Superintendent John Gaddis. “Its approach has allowed parents to deal with the financial struggles of finding lunch money as well as its main purpose of feeding our children.

“As of October 31 the school system had served over 31,000 extra meals compared to the same time last year. That shows the need that was in the county and the issue we had with students being hungry. We were thrilled to see the greatest games have been in the high schools where we anticipated having the greatest need. Overall the CEP program has had any enormous impact on the lives of our citizens.”

In addition to a free school lunch and breakfast at all schools, Somerset County continues to participate in Maryland Meals for Achievement, a “breakfast in the classroom” opportunity for students in Woodson, Deal Island, Princess Anne and Greenwood elementary schools and Somerset Intermediate.

Maryland Hunger Solutions says research shows students who eat breakfast are absent less often, are better able to learn, have better behavior in school, and demonstrate improved academic performance.

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