News and media outlets have reported this week that all students in Baltimore, regardless of family income, are now eligible to receive free breakfast and free lunch in the city’s schools.
On Tuesday, Maryland State Delegate Keith Haynes spoke at Beechfield Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore to announce the news, the Baltimore Sun reported. The chief sponsor of the Hunger Free Schools Act of 2015, a state law that allows any school and school district with at least 40% of its population considered low-income to offer free meals to all its students, Haynes told the Huffington Post that that number means every single school in Baltimore is eligible.
Last year, 84% of city students qualified for free or reduced-cost meals. Baltimore is one of several Maryland districts participating in the program.
Haynes noted the well-understood correlation between eating healthy meals and good schoolwork. “We know being able to eat at school is directly tied to better academic performance, better success and outcomes, and it lets students focus on getting through the day without having to be hungry,” he told the Huffington Post. “We believe this is going to be tremendously successful for all the schools.”
“It’s good, and kind of crazy,” Katia Stanford, a Beechfield student, told the Baltimore Sun. “Because kids should have been getting free lunch from the beginning if they knew kids were hungry.”