Nonprofit Works To Give School Kids Breakfast

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — It’s well known to classroom teachers that kids learn more when they have a full stomach.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, a national nonprofit is helping a school in Anne Arundel County to make sure more kids get breakfast.

Not that long ago, you could almost hear the stomachs rumble at Old Mill Middle. Just 50 kids were getting subsidized breakfasts, but hundreds were showing up hungry.

“I want everybody to be on a level playing field,” said Principal Mac.

Principal Mac remembers the day when he questioned a student who wrote on a test that he didn’t care.

“`My dad just lost his job; my mom’s never worked; I haven’t eaten; I’m hungry. At this point, I don’t care,'” Mac said.

That very day, Molly McCloskey walked into his life.

“When you increase participation in meals, you need to increase your storage,” she said.

She’s with the nonprofit “Share Our Strengths.” They don’t buy extra food, but provide schools with the behind-the-scenes stuff like freezers the schools need to get more meals to more kids.

“We bought them some flatbed carts. You’d be amazed when school districts look at their funding, if we can take care of this, they can work on getting more food–healthier food–to kids,” she said.

Mac rolled out the welcome mat and McCloskey’s people had an idea–let the kids eat breakfast in first period.

The number of breakfasts there have quintupled and lunch lady Rosie Jarboe hurries to keep up.

“Down there we do anywhere close to 400,” Jarboe said.

Now there are traffic jams for the $1.35 breakfasts.

“You have more energy inside of you so you can think harder and do more work,” sixth-grader Tristen Klipp said.

“My tardies have gone down, my academics have gone up and my kids are nourished and and happy and ready to learn every day,” Mac said.

The director says she has a quarter of a million dollars set aside, just waiting for more schools in Baltimore City to show interest.

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