Summer Meal Programs

  • Texas has more kids eligible for free summer meals. Why is the state feeding fewer?, By Aliyya Swaby, August 2, 2017, Texas Tribune: “When Evelyn Delgado saw a banner outside her daughter’s Houston school advertising free breakfasts and lunches this June, she figured it was an opportunity to give her 7-year-old good food and a chance to get out of the house. Delgado used to work at a local Fiesta Mart and leave her two kids with a babysitter, before she realized that paying the sitter was eating up her paltry wages. Now a stay-at-home mom with a husband who works in maintenance, she said the summer program helps feed her kids, who are eligible for free meals during the school year…”
  • When school’s out, rural Texas towns struggle to feed their hungry kids, By Aliyya Swaby, August 3, 2017, Texas Tribune: “Clara Crawford tapped the horn three times. Seconds later, two young boys ran down the steps of their house, their mother waving goodbye from the porch. Each summer, most days of the week, the 86-year-old Crawford drives a 1995 Ford cargo van 35 miles to gather up about 20 hungry children in Fairview, an unincorporated community in Rusk County, and the neighboring city of Reklaw. She takes them to a program she runs at a local community center where they can play basketball in the hot sun and get a full lunch plus a snack…”
  • Children in low-income families suffer during the summer without subsidized school food programs, By Leslie Albrecht, August 1, 2017, MarketWatch: “Families who rely on government food programs to keep their fridges stocked don’t have the financial resources to feed themselves when those programs disappear, according to a new study circulated by the Cambridge, Mass.-based National Bureau of Economic Research. Researchers wanted to see how families changed their spending habits after losing government food assistance, so they analyzed what happened in the summer months when low-income children don’t have access to school breakfast and lunch programs…”

School Meal Programs – Omaha, NE

OPS won’t expand free-lunch-for-all program to more schools, citing concerns over possible loss of aid, By Erin Duffy, July 18, 2017, Omaha World-Herald: “All students at six Omaha elementary schools have been able to eat free lunches for the past year and a half as part of a federal program intended to combat hunger at high-poverty schools. But the pilot program won’t be expanded to more of the Omaha district’s schools in the coming school year because of worries that it could affect the level of school funding the district receives…”

Summer Meal Programs – Minnesota

Summer Eats app helps Minnesota kids take bite out of hunger, By Shannon Prather, June 28, 2017, Star Tribune: “For kids who rely on free and reduced-price school lunches, summer break can be a hungry time. But there are nearly 700 sites across the state serving free, healthy meals to kids this summer — no reservations required — and a new smartphone app called Summer Eats Minnesota is making it easier for children and teens to find them. One additional perk of the app: It lists the menu at many locales…”

Schools and Child Poverty – Cincinnati, OH

  • ‘This is a crisis’: Suburban poverty growing, school lunch data shows, By Emilie Eaton, May 21, 2016, Cincinnati Enquirer: “In 10 years, Chris Burkhardt has seen a dramatic spike in school lunch program participation. It’s a double-edged sword, he says. On one hand, the program guarantees kids are receiving nutritious meals that help them succeed in the classroom. On the other hand, many students aren’t receiving those same nutritious meals at home. ‘We’re happy folks are utilizing the program, but it’s difficult knowing families can’t provide fruits and vegetables at home,’ said Burkhardt, director of child nutrition at Lakota Local Schools.  In 2015, roughly 3,800 students in Lakota Local Schools received a meal through the school lunch program, a federal program that provides free or discounted lunch to students whose families live in or near poverty…”
  • What is CPS doing to combat poverty?, By Emilie Eaton, May 23, 2016, Cincinnati Enquirer: “The kids steadily trickle into the lunch room here, grabbing a tray before picking out an entree, a vegetable, a fruit and a snack. BBQ beef on a bun? Peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Shredded chicken salad? Green beans? Celery? No complaints here. These kids want it all. ‘This is their opportunity to get five fruits and vegetables a day,’ said Principal Belinda Tubbs-Wallace. ‘Some of them don’t get that at home.’  This is Rockdale Academy, where all 402 students receive a free lunch under the school lunch program, a national program that provides a free or discounted lunch to students living below or near the federal poverty level…”

National School Lunch Program

Obama’s plan to give free lunches to millions more kids, By Roberto A. Ferdman, January 27, 2016, Washington Post: “The Obama administration will announce new plans Wednesday to launch a pilot program aimed at increasing poor children’s access to food through the National School Lunch Program. The pilot program will allow participating states to use Medicaid data to automatically certify students for free and reduced-price school lunches. Currently, families have to submit an application — a laborious process for parents and a costly one for schools — even when they have already proven that they are income-eligible through their participation in other government assistance programs…”

School Breakfast Programs

Schools use creative measures to serve breakfast to more students, By Yvonne Wenger, August 27, 2015, Baltimore Sun: “Waving her hands above her head, Kelly Leschefsky shouted over the morning rush at Perry Hall High School: ‘Come and grab your breakfast and take it to your classroom!’ A steady stream of students picked up cereal, cartons of orange juice, cinnamon rolls, bottles of milk and Pop-Tarts before the morning bell, entered their ID numbers on a keypad and headed to class. Some won’t actually pay, but that’s not apparent at the checkout line. The ‘Grab n’ Go’ carts at Perry Hall and elsewhere — at which the ID payment system keeps students from seeing whether their peers are buying the food or getting it free — are among several efforts statewide to ensure that more low-income children eat breakfast…”

Summer Meal Programs

Efforts to feed thousands of low-income children barely make a dent in child hunger, By Elisa Crouch, July 24, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “More than 1.1 million children in Missouri and Illinois qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year. But when school’s out, the vast majority of them go hungry. It’s a problem that has prompted a number of school districts, public libraries and social service agencies to set up summer feeding sites so that children can be guaranteed at least one or two meals a day. Thousands of children have benefited…”

Measuring Poverty in Schools

To measure poverty, states look beyond free lunch, By Amy Scott, June 23, 2015, Marketplace: “For years, the federal school meals program has been one of the most powerful forces in education. Not just because it feeds kids, but because the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals has been the main way schools measure poverty. That number, in turn, can impact everything from school funding levels to accountability programs.  But that’s changing. Massachusetts has introduced a new way of measuring poverty in its schools…”

Summer Meal Programs

For low-income kids, meals aplenty this summer, By Jennifer Calfas, June 25, 2015, USA Today: “A chorus of ‘thank yous’ filled the room as each child reached for his or her packaged meal.  Breakfast at the Barry Farm Recreation Center was served: A nectarine, a muffin and a carton of milk for each kid.  ‘These are things that they probably don’t eat at home,’ said Swandea Johnson-Denson, a recreation specialist who works closely with the kids at the center each day. ‘When they’re with us, we know they’re eating at least twice a day, five days a week.’  With few school lunches easily accessible during the summer season, a number of non-profits across the U.S. are providing more meals for low-income children. The Barry Farm Recreation Center is one of many hosting sites across the country…”

US Schoolchildren Living in Poverty

One in five U.S. schoolchildren are living below federal poverty line, By Lyndsey Layton, May 28, 2015, Washington Post: “More than one out of every five school-age children in the U.S. were living below the federal poverty line in 2013, according to new federal statistics released Thursday. That amounted to 10.9 million children — or 21 percent of the total — a six percent increase in the childhood poverty rate since 2000…”

School Food Programs

Schools becoming the ‘last frontier’ for hungry kids, By Marisol Bello, April 5, 2015, USA Today: “America’s schools are no longer just a place for students to learn their ABCs. They are also increasingly where children eat their three squares. The classroom has become a dining room as more children attending public schools live in poverty. More than half of students in public schools — 51% — were in low-income families in 2013, according to a study by the Southern Education Foundation. The number of low-income children in public schools has been persistent and steadily rising over the past several decades. In 1989, 32% of children in public schools lived in poverty, the foundation says…”

School Breakfast Program

How our schools fail poor kids before they even arrive for class, By Roberto A. Ferdman, February 18, 2015, Washington Post: “One of the simplest ways to put poor kids in a position to succeed is to make sure they eat breakfast.   Studies have shown that eating the day’s first meal is not only associated with nutritional benefits, but also cognitive ones — especially for children.A 2013 study, for instance, linked breakfast consumption among children to higher IQs later in life.  A group of researchers in 1989 found that students who ate breakfast tended to perform better on standardized tests…”

Low-Income Public School Students

The growing poverty problem in America’s schools, By Tami Luhby, January 29, 2015, CNN Money: “The majority of children in America’s public schools now are low-income. And that has major implications for the future of the nation’s workforce. The share of schoolkids who qualify for free or reduced lunches crossed the 50% threshold in 2013, according to a recent Southern Education Foundation report. That compares to fewer than 32% back in 1989. Students eligible for subsidized school lunches come from families who are in poverty or just above it. A child living with a single parent would qualify if the family’s income was less than $28,000. A family of four would receive free or reduced lunches if their income was less than $42,600…”

Low-Income Public School Students

Majority of U.S. public school students are in poverty, By Lyndsey Layton, January 16, 2015, Washington Post: “For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families, according to a new analysis of 2013 federal data, a statistic that has profound implications for the nation. The Southern Education Foundation reports that 51 percent of students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade were eligible under the federal program for free and reduced-price lunches in the 2012-2013 school year. The lunch program is a rough proxy for poverty, but the explosion in the number of needy children in the nation’s public classrooms is a recent phenomenon that has been gaining attention among educators, public officials and researchers…”

Free School Lunch Eligibility – Kansas

Association says childhood poverty increase has led to more students eligible for free meals, By Celia Llopis-Jepsen, August 25, 2014, Topeka Capital-Journal: “The rising percentage of Kansas children who receive free or reduced-price lunches at school is a genuine trend linked to poverty, not a ploy to boost school funding, the Kansas Association of School Boards said Monday. In an eight-page report, the association’s researchers analyzed the increase in Kansas schools of children who qualify for free or reduced lunch based on family incomes…”

Low-Income Students in Public Schools

  • Almost half of Michigan public school students living in low-income households, study shows, By Brian Smith, October 20, 2013, MLive: “A new study shows that 46 percent of Michigan’s public school children live in low-income households, part of an increasing trend nationwide.The study, published by the Southern Education Foundation, found that a majority of public school students across the Southeast and West live in low-income households, defined in the study as households eligible for the federal free and reduced lunch program.Mississippi had the highest percentage, at 71 percent of all public school children, followed closely by New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas…”
  • Study sounds alarm over percentage of low-income students in public schools, By Karen McVeigh, October 17, 2013, The Guardian: “For the first time since the 1960s, a majority of the children in public schools in the South and West of the United States come from families living below, at or not far above the poverty line, according to a new study. The study’s findings are part of a trend that is set to continue across the nation. While the percentage of low-income students in public schools has grown across the nation over the last 20 years, there are now 17 states in which they represent the majority. Thirteen of those states are in the South; four are in the West…”

Low-Income Students in Public Schools

Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West, By Lyndsey Layton, October 16, 2013, Washington Post: “A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country. The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nation’s oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year…”

Free Lunch Program and School Funding – Indiana

State won’t use free lunch program as poverty indicator, By Maureen Hayden, May 24, 2013, News and Tribune: “Indiana is changing the way it counts low-income students in public schools because Republican legislators suspect fraud in the federal school-lunch program used to measure poverty. Tucked inside the budget bill passed by the General Assembly last month is a provision that ends the use of the program to determine levels of poverty-based funding for school districts after next year. Instead, the state’s textbook assistance program, which provides free schoolbooks to low-income children, will be used to calculate how much additional money the state gives schools to help educate children most at-risk for failure…”

Achievement Gap – Kansas

Kansas schools’ achievement gap widening, but less than originally thought, By Suzanne Perez Tobias, October 1, 2012, Wichita Eagle: “The achievement gap between minority and non-minority students in Kansas schools is widening, but not as dramatically as state education officials thought. The Kansas Department of Education updated and reissued statewide test data Monday after discovering a calculation error related to three districts that were allowed to use ACT tests in place of state assessments. The revised results still show a widening achievement gap among some populations, including African-American students and those who qualify for free lunch, but the dropoff is not as severe as originally reported…”

Summer Meal Program – Philadelphia, PA

District cuts affect summer meals for children, By Alfred Lubrano, May 4, 2012, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Fewer students will be eating free breakfast and lunch in summer school this year because budget troubles are forcing the School District of Philadelphia to reduce the number of academic and enrichment programs it offers. This year, about 10,000 students will be enrolled in summer programs, nearly half of the 19,000 who attended in 2011, a district representative said. Summer school will be available only to high school seniors who need credits to graduate, special-education students, and students who qualify for education programs funded by federal grants. That means parents will have to scramble to feed children – many of them low-income – who are accustomed to free school meals but will not receive them…”