Groundbreaking “Jubilee Showcase” celebrates 50th Anniversary

Every February we hear about the heroes and heroines of African American history but those personalities are usually African Americans themselves. However, there is one pioneer of African American television history who rarely comes up in those conversations and his name was Sid Ordower. A white man of Jewish heritage, he was a civil rights activist and both the founder and host of “Jubilee Showcase, a weekly gospel TV series that aired on Chicago’s WLS Channel 7 from 1963 to 1984.

In observance of the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking TV show, PBS has been airing an hour-long special on the groundbreaking series since late November 2013. Scores of artists and personalities appeared on the show over the years, ranging from The Staple Singers and Andrae Crouch to Rev. Jesse Jackson. At its height, “Jubilee Showcase” boasted over 250,000 weekly viewers and presented some of the biggest names in gospel. “I always used to pride myself on getting the best soloists, the greatest groups, the finest accompanists in gospel,” Ordower told the Chicago Tribune in 1992. “The idea was to get variety. We didn’t want to feature just quartets or just soloists. We wanted everything that was out there, so long as it was the best.”

Ordower’s son, Steve, has compiled the “Jubilee Showcase” compilation DVD featuring classic performances from the 1960s and 1970s featuring The Staple Singers, The Soul Stirrers, Inez Andrews, Andrae Crouch and Jesse Dixon, among others. “He did so much for gospel singers,” Mavis Staples says of Ordower. “It was during a time when gospel couldn’t even be heard. If you wanted to hear some gospel on the radio you had to get up at 4 a.m. in the morning. And then to put us on television? That was huge. Everybody in Chicago watched it, black and white. [Sid] was the one who let us know all white people weren’t bad. This was a man dedicated to letting our music be seen and heard. Young black people need to know where we came from.”

An Army captain with a double Purple Heart who fought in the Battle of Normandy during World War II, Sid Ordower launched “Jubilee Showcase” in 1963 from an auto dealership on 47th Street. As a white man active in the civil rights movement, Ordower became acquainted with gospel music because so many political activities took place in churches where he came in contact with gospel performers. He became a fan of the genre and created the television show as a mainstream showcase for the artists. Before his death in 2002 (at the age of 82), Ordower donated all of the “Jubilee Showcase” videotapes to The Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. The DVD is available online at:

Spring launch planned for ProjectSPACE

— A new parking program aimed at creating more on street parking availability by curbing the abuse of handicap hangtags is coming to town. The Parking Authority of Baltimore City and the Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities have partnered to launch ProjectSPACE.

Set to launch sometime late March or early April, ProjectSPACE requires that all people parking on street pay for parking, including those who possess a disability placard. In addition, the program will reserve more than 200 on-street parking spaces for people with disabilities, making it easier for them to reach their destinations.

Peter Little is the executive director of the Parking Authority of Baltimore City, while Dr. Nollie Wood is the executive director of the Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities.

“People are looking for the most convenient place to park,” said Little. “If you are like me, you find it extremely difficult to find on-street parking downtown, especially during the day at parking meters. Unfortunately, there are many people who are abusing disability placards to park all day. This is a big issue for people with disabilities who really need to find a place close to their destinations to park.”

He added, “The Parking Authority is committed to find solutions to the parking issues in Baltimore City, and ProjectSPACE will help us to solve this problem.”

According to statistics, nearly 2,000 hangtags are stolen from vehicles in Baltimore City every year, with disability placards thefts skyrocketing as the number one item stolen out of vehicles.

“Baltimore City has seen almost 2000 placards lost or stolen since 2012,” said Dr. Wood. “Cars are broken into and the handicap placards are stolen. It’s also an added expense to the placard owners when other items are stolen from their vehicles. For many years, drug dealers and others involved in the drug trade have been breaking into cars and selling them anywhere from $90 to $150 each.”

Allowing free parking to drivers displaying disability placards and license plates began several decades ago when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) determined that the parking meters at the time were not ADA compliant.

“We are going to be reserving highly accessible parking spaces on-street for parkers with disabilities,” said Little. “They will be lower and will accept credit and debit cards as well as drop in coins without having to turn anything. The turning motion was the catalyst behind the ADA determining that the meters were not ADA compliant.”

He added, “The single space parking meters that we have been installing over the last nine years meet ADA guidelines. In addition, everyone will be required to pay for parking, which eliminates the need to abuse disability placards or steal them.”

Studies show that one-third of traffic congestion in downtown areas are comprised of cars looking for an available parking space. Both Little and Dr. Wood said the new program will address this issue as well.

“There are very few spaces on the street that become available during the day,” said Little. “People circle looking for spaces, which causes traffic congestion. People get frustrated when they can’t find a place to park. People also prefer to park on the street as opposed to a parking garage because garages are more expensive. If people can’t find parking spaces, they may opt to leave. There is no way of knowing how often this happens, but we know it does. As a result, businesses don’t have the opportunity to earn that revenue.”

Wood added, “People with disabilities are looking for equal opportunities. They shouldn’t have to circle the block and see an athletic looking individual jump out of an SUV who has illegally parked in their space. ProjectSPACE will help curtail this issue and also make it easier for them to go about their business and be independent. That’s very important to them. They also want to pay their fair share, get the services that they want, and have equal access to the neighborhoods they want to visit.”

According to Little, Phase 1 of the ProjectSPACE program will include the following boundaries: Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. to the West; President St. to the East; Franklin St. to the North and South; and a combination of streets between Conway St. and Key Hwy.

“After that, we will expand to other neighborhoods, which will include Harbor East, Federal Hill, Mt. Vernon, Fells Point and then it will go beyond that to other areas,” said Little. “Those with disabilities are a strong and growing constituency. They are customers too and are major contributors to the life and economy of Baltimore, so it’s important to accommodate them. Ultimately, as a result of this program, we will see more parking available for everyone to use.”

Russell Wilson second black quarterback to win a Super Bowl

Going into Super Bowl XLVIII, many wondered whether black history would be made again on Sunday, February 1, 2014 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

In 1988, Washington Redskins quarterback Douglas Lee “Doug” Williams became the first African American starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl, with his victory in Super Bowl XXII.

Could the Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback Russell Carrington Wilson become the second African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl?

Twenty-six years earlier, Super Bowl XXII was between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Washington Redskins and American Football Conference (AFC) champion Denver Broncos to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1987 season.

Coming into Super Bowl XXII, the Broncos were favored to win because most experts thought both teams were equal in terms of talent with Elway considered by many as the superior quarterback to Williams.

The odds were stacked in Elway’s favor. He had won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award and was selected to start for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, while Williams had played just five regular season games in the 1987 season.

The game would be decided on January 31, 1988 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. By the time the game ended, the Washington Redskins had defeated the Broncos by the score of 42–10, winning their second-ever Super Bowl. Elway was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, while Williams became the first black man to win a Super Bowl as a quarterback. He was named the game’s MVP after going 18 of 29 for 340 yards and four touch down passes in a 42-10 bucking of Elway’s Broncos.

Born August 9, 1955, Williams is best known for his remarkable performance in Super Bowl XXII. Williams also became the first player in Super Bowl history to pass for four touchdowns in a single quarter, and four in a half.

Going into Super Bowl XLVIII, league MVP Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos were heavily favored. However, by the time the game ended, black history was made again with Wilson and the underdog Seahawks defeating the Denver Broncos.

In an ironic twist of fate, the lopsided 43-8 win marked the second time that Elway had been beaten by a black quarterback. The former Denver Broncos quarterback now serves as Vice President of Football Operations for the organization.

Wilson passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns, joining Williams as the second African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

Seattle ‘Misfits’ fit enough to win Super Bowl

Prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl, I told anyone who would listen that I like both the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, so I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed regardless of who won the game. But…I was hoping Seattle would emerge the victor and I will tell you why.

First— because as a former high school and college quarterback, I am partial to teams with a black starting quarterback. In Seattle’s case, their first and second team quarterbacks are African American. To understand the significance of this breakthrough, for years, blacks were not allowed to play quarterback or middle linebacker at major universities or in the pros. Quarterback in particular was the glamour position and any African American coming up through the ranks as a quarterback was usually converted to a defensive back or a wide receiver, if they made it to the NFL.

Regardless of how great a black quarterback was at an HBCU, for example, he didn’t get a chance to showcase his skills as a quarterback at the pro level. It was as if the scouts thought black teams played football with 10 men instead of 11. Even a, shall we say, passing look at history would have dispelled that notion.

“Fritz” Pollard was professional football’s first black quarterback in 1920, leading the Akron Pros to victory in the NFL’s first championship game. In the modern era, James Harris, the Grambling great, became the first regular starter for the Buffalo Bills in 1969.

Nearly 20 years later, in 1988, another ex-Grambling QB, Doug Williams, became the first Black to start and win a Super Bowl. This season was hailed as the “Year of the black Quarterback” in the NFL, with nine starting on the third weekend of the season.

The second reason I was pulling for Seattle was their coach, Pete Carroll. I always enjoyed his brand of football when he was head coach of the University of Southern California (USC). But my respect for him deepened when I learned he regularly made midnight trips to the ‘hood in an effort to curb gang violence.

LA Times columnist Kurt Streeter would later write: “Few know that about twice a month Carroll leaves his comfy digs at USC, hops in the back of a beaten Camry driven by a former gang member and heads to South L.A. neighborhoods where the snap of gunfire and the anguish of death occur with the steady regularity of a metronome.

“These are not recruiting visits. He’s trying to save lives.

“Most often, he arrives near midnight and walks shadowy streets with that familiar, electric strut, surrounded by little boys, grandparents, crack heads and gang toughs. He empathizes, listens, encourages and laughs. He talks about jobs and kids and marriage, about perspective and courage, about how difficult it must be to be caught in the madness of the streets.

“He realizes that some might think he’s a fool, that some might say he should pay no mind to gang members. Naysayers do not stop him.”

My third reason for cheering for Seattle is that they’ve often been called misfits, with many so-called experts questioning their ability to play in the NFL. However, one-by-one, the players, many of whom were drafted in the low rounds, if at all, have proven their critics wrong.

Case in point: Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, the game’s Most Valuable Player, wasn’t picked until 242nd in the 2011 NFL draft. Yet on Sunday, he was the star among stars, making nine tackles, recovering a Demaryius Thomas fumble early in the third quarter, and with less than four minutes remaining in the game, intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown.

And there was that quarterback who, at 5’11” would never make it in the NFL. At least, that’s what they told Russell Wilson. All he did Sunday was lead his team to a Super Bowl victory in his second year as a pro. When he was younger, he attended a football camp organized by Peyton Manning. On Sunday, Wilson played as though he was the instructor and Manning was his pupil.

Richard Sherman again proved he is NFL’s best cornerback. After Seattle’s division playoff game against San Francisco, he was depicted as a loudmouth defender lacking class. What the talking heads didn’t say was that he had extended a hand to Michael Crabtree, a gesture that was rejected, before he boasted that the 49’ers should have known better than trying to complete a pass on his side of the field. Anyone who has ever played organized football realizes that’s the mindset of defensive backs: Don’t even think about it. When Colin Kaepernick, another black quarterback, tested him near the end of the division title game, Sherman made him pay.

For a group of so-called misfits who routed the favored Denver Broncos 43-8, the Lombardi Trophy seems to fit them very well!

George E. Curry is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA.) He is a keynote speaker, moderator and media coach. Curry can be reached through his website:

St. Agnes Hospital’s Red Dress Sunday is February 9

— Ten years ago, St. Agnes Hospital created Red Dress Sunday, an innovative, faith-based health education program designed by the hospital to raise awareness of the devastating effects of heart disease among women.

On Sunday, February 9, 2014, St. Agnes Hospital is partnering with congregations across Baltimore to again offer Red Dress Sunday.

More than 130 local churches will participate in this year’s effort, giving thousands of women, who will dress in red to symbolize their commitment to obtain information and tools needed to understand and minimize their risks.

Bethel AME Church located at 1300 Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore, is the official church for this year’s Red Dress Sunday activities. The event will include a VIP Reception from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; Sunday Service from 9:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; and a health fair from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Rev. Dr. Frank Madison Reid III is pastor.

United States Senator Ben Cardin and Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will bring opening remarks. The keynote speakers include Shannon Winakur, MD, medical director of the Women’s Heart Center at St. Agnes Hospital; Carlos Ince MD, the hospital’s chief of cardiology; and Georgetta Thomas, a member of the congregation who has a personal story of success and inspiration to share with her fellow congregants.

Bethel’s Owings Mills location at 10989 Red Run Blvd #210 will also be hosting an event beginning with their 12:15 p.m. service.

“This is the tenth year for Red Dress Sunday,” said Dr. Winakur. “However, we still have a long way to go. Heart disease is still the number one killer in this country. In one survey, only 35 percent of African American women knew that heart disease was the number one killer. Most thought it was cancer. We are going to continue to do this, and reach out to women to help them realize they have to take care of their heart.”

Red Dress Sunday is among the programs and initiatives sponsored by St. Agnes Hospital to combat heart disease.

“We will continue to work until we knock out heart disease as the number one killer in this country,” said Dr. Winakur. “We encourage all congregations to wear red on February 9 to increase awareness.”

St. Agnes Hospital, which is located at 900 Caton Avenue in Baltimore, is also home to the Cardiovascular Institute, a state-of-the-art facility that provides comprehensive treatment.

Officials at St. Agnes believe that many women don’t recognize the threat of heart disease. “There are so many misconceptions about heart disease,” said Dr. Winakur. “Many women think that it’s a male or older male’s disease, and that just isn’t true.”

Georgia Chapman echoed that sentiment. In May 2012, she suffered a heart attack. According to Chapman, a steady diet of foods that included fried food and fast food, along with stress and a lack of exercise, played a major part in the heart attack.

“I want to make sure the message is getting out to women,” said Chapman. “Heart disease isn’t just a man’s disease any more. The roles of women have changed. Many women once stayed home and took care of the children and house, while the husband worked. Nowadays, we are taking care of the family, working two and three jobs and handling other responsibilities.”

Chapman, who was treated at St. Agnes added, “I know because it hit me. Women are having heart attacks due to everyday stress and bad eating habits. It’s killing us. Nowadays, if the woman gets sick, the whole house will fall. We have to take better care of ourselves.”

Chapman, 56, will be speaking at the Red Dress Sunday event at Mt. Olive Holy Evangelistic Church located at 3816 Edmondson Avenue in Baltimore where Bishop Raynor C. Wharton, Sr. serves as pastor.

“There is no excuse,” said Chapman. “I know what I am supposed to eat and what I am not supposed to eat. I also give my stress over to God. The heart is on the inside, and when it is gone, that’s it. Through this Red Dress event, I want to reach out to other women to stop heart disease. That’s my mission.”

For more information about St. Agnes’ Red Dress Sunday and other events and programs aimed at combating heart disease, visit

CVS stores to stop selling tobacco

— Want to pick up a pack of cigarettes with your prescription refill? A major U.S. pharmacy chain is breaking that habit.

CVS Caremark announced Wednesday it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its CVS/pharmacy stores by October 1.

The retailer said the move makes CVS/pharmacy the first chain of national pharmacies to take tobacco products off the shelves.

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy in the United States based on total prescription revenue, according to the company. It operates more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide in addition to more than 800 MinuteClinics, which are medical clinics within the pharmacy locations.

Health-oriented organizations and President Barack Obama praised the move.

“As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs — ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” Obama said in a statement Wednesday.

“This is an important, bold public health decision by a major retail pharmacy to act on the long understood reality that blending providing health care and providing cigarettes just doesn’t match,” said Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society.

“We need an all-hands-on-deck effort to take tobacco products out of the hands of America’s young generation, and to help those who are addicted to quit,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “Today’s CVS Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation. I hope others will follow their lead.”

It remained unclear whether other pharmacies will follow CVS’ lead.

“We have been evaluating this product category for some time to balance the choices our customers expect from us with their ongoing health needs,” Walgreens spokesman Jim Graham said in a statement.

“We will continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want, while also helping to educate them and providing smoking-cessation products and alternatives that help to reduce the demand for tobacco products.”

Meanwhile, David Howard, spokesman for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., said, “We value the long-term relationship with CVS and respect their commercial decision. We will work with them as they transition out of the tobacco category in the coming months.”

Stopping cigarette sales comes at a price. CVS Caremark estimates it will take an annual loss of $2 billion from tobacco shoppers — $1.5 billion in tobacco sales and the rest from other products tobacco shoppers purchase while in the store.

The company has enjoyed growing revenues in recent years, boosted by its pharmacy services business and prescription drug sales.

CVS Caremark hasn’t reported its year-end results yet, but it took in nearly $94 billion in revenues in the first nine months of 2013, up slightly from the same period in 2012, according to its most recent earnings report.

In 2012, CVS Caremark reported $123.1 billion in revenues, a 15% jump from $107.1 billion the previous year.

“We commend CVS for putting public health ahead of their bottom line and recognizing the need for pharmacies to focus on supporting health and wellness instead of contributing to disease and death caused by tobacco use,” the American Medical Association said.

Asked Wednesday about the reaction of tobacco executives to the decision, CVS Caremark’s Merlo said they were “disappointed. At the same time, I think they understand the paradox that we face as an organization, and they understand the rationale for the decision.”

On whether CVS would extend its ban to other products known to be unhealthy — candy, potato chips or alcohol, for instance — Merlo told reporters those items, in moderation, do not have the same adverse effects as the use of tobacco.

Helping people quit

The company also announced Wednesday it plans to launch a national smoking-cessation program in the spring. The program will include information and treatment on smoking cessation at CVS/pharmacy and Minute Clinic locations in addition to online resources.

Members of the pharmacy benefit management plan will be able to access comprehensive programs to help themselves stop smoking.

Smoking-cessation products such as nicotine patches or gum will continue to be available at CVS/pharmacy locations, Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS Caremark, said Wednesday.

Fewer people smoke today than in the mid-20th century, but there are still a lot of Americans lighting up. In 1965, 42% of the population smoked, compared with 19% today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts said the decline in smoking has plateaued.

It’s no secret that tobacco causes health problems. Cancer, stroke, heart disease and lung diseases are among the results of smoking, according to the CDC. More than 5 million deaths per year are caused by tobacco use. Smokers also tend to die 10 years before nonsmokers, according to the CDC.

Support from public health advocates

The company’s announcement is “a huge step toward our country being able to have a really long-lasting culture of health,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest U.S. philanthropy devoted to public health.

In addition to eliminating a point of sale of tobacco, CVS Caremark’s removal of tobacco products also takes away an advertising opportunity, said Robin Koval, president and CEO of Legacy, an organization that conducts research on tobacco use. Young people who shop at CVS/pharmacy for other reasons will no longer see the array of tobacco products available.

“It’s obviously a landmark decision and one that I hope wakes up the entire retail industry that it’s the right thing to do,” Koval said.

A report from the California Department of Public Health found that while total cigarette sales decreased between 2005 and 2009 in the United States, sales in pharmacies increased. If sales of cigarettes at pharmacies continue rising at the current rate, by 2020 almost 15% of all U.S. cigarette sales will occur at pharmacies, the report said.

According to a 2011 study in Los Angeles, cited in the report, more than 32% of pharmacies sold cigarettes, and traditional chain pharmacies were far more likely to sell cigarettes than independently owned pharmacies.

Wender noted the CVS move is in line with what the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association have advocated: to stop sales of tobacco in retail outlets with pharmacies.

On the other side of the issue, there is a lot of money in tobacco. The cigarette industry spent $8.37 billion in 2011 on advertising and promotions, according to the CDC.

Most tobacco is sold in convenience stores, which would be “a tougher nut to crack” in terms of stopping tobacco sales, Wender said.

But pharmacies are a good place to start, Wender said. He is convinced the removal of tobacco products from CVS/pharmacy locations will result in some smokers quitting, particularly those who have a habit of buying their cigarettes there.

“It’s going to force every one of them to pause and say, ‘Why isn’t my CVS selling cigarettes anymore?’ ” Wender said.

CNNMoney’s Melanie Hicken and Aaron Smith and CNN’s Jen Christensen and Miriam Falco contributed to this report.

Annapolis City Council meetings available live online

— Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides announced that City Council meetings are now available online through live streaming.

“Streaming the meetings is an essential move to make it easier for our residents to know what government is doing 24/7,” Mayor Pantelides said. “This enhancement allows our citizens to stay informed, educated and up to date because it is real-time information that our residents and business owners can access anywhere.”

Anyone with an internet connection can watch government meetings live on a computer or mobile device. Users will also be able to access archived meeting videos along with relevant supporting materials, including staff reports, meeting agendas and minutes. Additionally the content will be keyword searchable, making the process of finding information much easier. All meeting videos will be time-stamped to allow viewers to skip directly to the agenda item of interest.

To view agendas, legislative files, and streaming video go to and click on the link under Announcements. As the City tests this new system, we encourage public input. Please send questions and comments to Hilary Roggio Raftovich at .

The Council meetings will continue to be aired live on City TV, channel 34 for Verizon customers and on channel 99/100 for Comcast subscribers.

AACC hires Eger as director of technology training programs

Sara Eger of Arnold is the new Director of Technology Training Programs in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at Anne Arundel Community College.

Formerly an Instructional Technology Specialist in Anne Arundel County Public Schools, she is responsible for the overall planning, development and supervision of open enrollment , continuing education and contract programs, industry certifications and distance education that include technology content.

In her 13 years with the county school system, Eger focused on emerging technologies, delivering professional development to teachers to help keep them on the forefront of the instructional applications and technology used in the classroom. She also served as acting assistant principal, teacher, instructional coach and writer and facilitator of online courses. She managed the Maryland STEM Portfolio Project, a $5.5 million grant, equipping teachers throughout Maryland with cutting-edge technologies and professional development.

Eger has a business and technology background in the finance industry having worked at Goldman Sachs in New York and London. She is a Discovery Educator Network Star Educator and trained as a Microsoft Innovative Educator. She was the recipient of the 2006 MICCA Grant and the 2007 AT&T Foundation’s Read/Write Web Grant. She holds a B.A. from Kenyon College and M.S. Education in Integrating Technology in the Classroom from Walden University.

Federal funds available for free summer meals

— The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has announced that federal funds are available to assist public and private nonprofit agencies in serving free nutritious meals and snacks to children this summer through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a U.S. Department of Agriculture program.

Over 370,000 Maryland children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, but do not have access to school meals during the summer. For every 100 children that participate in school meals during the school year, only 18.3 participate in a summer nutrition program.

The SFSP bridges the nutrition gap that exists between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. Meals and snacks must meet federal nutrition guidelines.

“The Summer Food Service Program is a vital resource for families that may be struggling with hunger. The program provides nutritious meals and snacks so children can learn, grow, and play. It helps children return to school ready to learn because they have received the proper nutrition needed during the summer months,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.

The SFSP provides reimbursement to organizations for meals and snacks served to children in areas where at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program, or when 50 percent of the children enrolled in a program qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Most organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals or snacks per child per day. Migrant programs and camps may be reimbursed for up to three meals per child per day.

The Program is open to children and teens age 18 and under and to individuals over 18 who are mentally or physically disabled. Interested organizations should contact MSDE at 410-767-0225. The deadline for applications is May 30, 2014. For information about the program, visit:

The Maryland State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are equal opportunity employers and providers.