Monday, July 5, 2010
Pennsylvania has a better track record than most states when it comes to providing food for low-income kids during the summer months, but Terra Marks, co-director of the group Just Harvest, says the state can do better. Pennsylvania ranks 11th in feeding low income kids, and a study finds that of the 510, 655 kids that receive free and reduced-priced school lunches during the academic year, only 125,791 participated in the state's Summer Nutrition Programs, in July 2009. Marks says providing food in the summer months is critical since many kids depend on meals served at school throughout the year. When school is out of session, kids can go hungry. Marks says the Summer Programs are easy to access--there are sites throughout Allegheny County and Pittsburgh where kids can go for a snack or meal as long as they meet income guidelines. Marks says they're also pushing for passage of the federal Child Nutrition Re-Authorization Act, which would expand the number of school districts eligible for federal dollars to offer free/reduced-priced meals by lowering the threshold for the percentage of impoverished students in the district from 50% to 40%.