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No School on Snow Days Means NO LUNCHES For Up to 21 Million Low Income Children -- A Harsh Reality

No School, No Lunch

For many children this year, snow days have meant staying at home, playing in the snow and having fun. But there is a dark side to snow days, one that affects up to 21 million low-income children who are getting their school lunches free or at reduced prices. When there is no school, there may be no lunches for them to eat either.

It's been a harsh winter for many this year, but even harsher for those children who depend on school to feed them. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Department of Food and Nutrition Service, of all the children in the U.S. who eat school lunches, 70.5 percent are receiving their lunches for free or at reduced prices. This number is continuing to increase, up from 58.5 percent in 2003.

Food For Thought

Here's more food for thought. Reports from some school districts indicate it is not uncommon for hungry children to be seen by school nurses due to hunger-related illnesses, parents not eating so their children can eat, and hungry children pushing through the line to get breakfast when school resumes. It sounds like reports from a developing country, but, sadly, it's happening right here in the U.S.

Volunteers Coming Together To Help

In many regions, help is offered from a variety of sources that includes non-profit organizations that feed children on the weekends or send sacks of food home with hungry children on Friday after school is out. In the state of Tennessee, there is even one school bus called the Lunch Express Bus that delivers free sack lunches to children in poverty-ridden areas of rural Tennessee.

So, the next time school is closed because of a snow day, remember that there are so many children who think that school is still the best place to be.

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