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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Report: Fewer Kentucky Kids Receiving School Meals

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023   

Preliminary data shows schools are serving fewer meals than they did last year, largely due to the end of nationwide pandemic-era waivers which allowed schools to serve meals at no cost to all children. According to a recent report, Kentucky saw a 34% increase in lunch participation and a nearly 3% increase in the number of kids who ate breakfast at school over the past few years.

Clarissa Hayes, Deputy Director for School and Out-of-School Time Programs at the Food Research & Action Center, said the gap between Kentucky kids receiving breakfast and lunch now appears to be widening as kids and families go back to the tiered eligibility system used to determine who qualifies for free school meals.

"For Kentucky, what we saw is that for the breakfast-to-lunch comparison, for every 100 children receiving a lunch, about 65 are receiving a breakfast," Hayes said. "So, that's a little bit lower than the year before where, for every 100 children receiving lunch, 85 are receiving a breakfast."

Research shows regular school meals improve kids' academic performance, mental health and nutritional intake. Federal data from 2019 shows nearly 15-million students ate a school breakfast and nearly 30-million students ate school lunch on a typical day.

There are pathways to ensuring that consistent access to healthy school meals is a reality for all kids, Hayes said.

"Ideally, that would be expanded, expanded on the federal level, but we are seeing many states that are taking it upon themselves to pass legislation to make sure that all kids are getting those meals at no cost," she said.

Some states are stepping up to fill the gap to cover the cost of school meals regardless of kids' eligibility, including California, Maine and Colorado.


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