Forward! More schools serve students dinner as demand expands

A thing of the past?

A thing of the past?


Yahoo: Many of the students at Kingsley Elementary School in a low-income neighborhood of Los Angeles eat breakfast and lunch provided by the school. For the nearly 100 enrolled in the after-school program, another meal is served: supper.
The nation’s second largest school district is doubling the number of students served dinner, with an eye toward eventually offering it at every school. It’s a growing trend: Nationwide, the number of students served dinner or an after-school snack soared to nearly 1 million last year.
“When kids are hungry, they don’t pay attention,” said Bennett Kayser, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District board, which was announcing the expansion Thursday. “This is something that should have started years ago.”
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia began offering students dinner as part of a pilot program expanded to all states after the 2010 passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Schools where at least half the students are low-income and qualify for free or reduced-price lunch are reimbursed for each supper by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at a rate often significantly higher than the cost of the meal.
In the 2014 fiscal year, 104 million suppers were served to students, up from about 19 million in 2009. Participation is still lower than in the nation’s long-running breakfast and lunch programs, which serve more than 12 million and 31 million students, respectively.
The introduction of dinner to school routines is unique in that it could take the place of what many consider a near-sacred ritual: The family dinner.
Proponents say that since many students stay on campus until the early evening hours, it makes sense to provide an additional meal. In the case of the neediest students, they might not get anything to eat after class other than what is offered at school.
Research on family dinners has shown a plethora of benefits: Greater academic achievement, less delinquency, and better family relations. Yet the research also presents a chicken-and-egg type question: Do children reap those benefits because they have dinner with their families, or do the same families that have dinner together display other traits that account for higher achievement?
More recent research indicates while family dinners can be linked to fewer symptoms of depression, most of the other benefits seem to decrease when demographic and other environmental factors are taken into account. At a time when many families have hectic schedules, dinner at school could provide some relief, said Rachel Dunifon, a policy professor at Cornell University. “If these meals help alleviate stress, it could actually be good and open up more time for families,” she said.
LAUSD currently serves supper to 75,000 students and plans to expand the program to about 150,000 over the next two years. School officials estimate it will generate $16.6 million in revenue, which will go toward expanding the program.
Other large, urban districts with dinner programs include Philadelphia and District of Columbia public schools. Wayne Grasela, senior vice president for food services, said the School District of Philadelphia now serves 4,500 dinners each day.
At Kingsley Elementary School, several students said the roasted sunflower seeds, cheese sticks and, depending on the day, sandwiches, salads and chicken they are served function more like a snack than a meal. Some eat another meal at home.
But for others, it’s one of the few things they eat after class. Ten-year-old Evelyn Ruballos said she usually only eats crackers when she gets home. “And then I just go to sleep,” she said.
While I understand the need to feed hungry children, shouldn’t our great economy mean more money for families to buy food? Apparently not:
“The number of beneficiaries on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—AKA food stamps–has topped 46,000,000 for 38th straight months, according to data released by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). In October 2014, the latest month reported, there were 46,674,364 Americans on food stamps. Food stamp recipients have exceeded 46 million since September 2011.
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The Grey Enigma
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Reblogged this on The Grey Enigma and commented:
Who needs parents, families and freinds anyway. WE have The State!
All of your kids are belong to us now comrades!!

 
Northerngirl
Guest
Northerngirl

At the risk of sounding heartless, where is the welfare check being spent if obviously not on food? Perhaps soon these schools can start washing clothes for these children at school and then possibly we will just house poor children at school and the parents will not have to worry about watching their kids anymore either. Having children is a responsibility that too many just don’t take seriously. To them each subsequent child is equal to a pay raise on their welfare check. There are ways to cook to make money go further, many of us learned that through hard… Read more »

Doug Todd
Guest

For the schools this is about Federal money in excess of the cost — for the Feds it is about more control.

 
MA in MO
Guest

The comments so far have nailed it — gov’t control, more money for the schools (although I am sure they will tell you it does not cover the cost, but when did any gov’t program ever cover all the costs?), and more dependance on gov’t funding. We are doomed. I quit giving to food banks years ago. I am so glad you asked why. I was told by the people in charge not to donate anything that had to be cooked/fixed/prepared, because the people accepting the donations simply would not bother with it. (I have since been told that food… Read more »

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

It’s free, of course…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqTO4C6Kl3c

 
Lola
Guest
Lola

I once worked for a state department of health and learned that food stamp income is based on three meals per day per household member. When schools supply meals to the children, it is not factored into the equation. Now with three meals per day five days a week supplied by the school, there will be excess SNAP funds…and that will only lead to bad things.

 
MomOfIV
Guest
MomOfIV

Where are the parents? The only reason schools served breakfast was because parents were dropping their kids off before school started. The only reason schools serve dinner is because parents are leaving their children at school past school closing (and so late, they are there past dinner time). It seems to me children are at school longer than they are at home. Their primary residence is school. The way things are going, the schools are going to start using cots so that the children who stay after school can sleep there as well. I see the trend of this growing… Read more »

Christy
Guest
Christy

I am so behind the times. I just recently found out that schools here in OK serve lunch (possibly breakfast as well) during the summer! I would be so embarrassed, but again, I am not in sync with the times!

 
Dr. Eowyn
Admin

Breakfast, lunch & dinner paid for by taxpayers! No wonder the Communist Party USA endorsed the POS and the Democrats in 2012.
https://fellowshipoftheminds.com/2011/08/04/communist-party-usa-endorses-obama-democrats-for-2012/

 
Lola
Guest
Lola

And now there are movements across the country to provide low income moms with diapers. Government sponsored daycare, diapers, food, housing, it just goes on and on.
https://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/08/13/3470712/california-diapers/
Cradle to Grave Nanny State

 
truckjunkie
Guest
truckjunkie

Why don’t they make the WORKING people vote for all these benefits? All these hardcore usurpers should be required to provide SOMETHING in exchange for all the goodies. (Workfare)

 
sonsothunder
Guest

I’m hungry now

 
CalGirl
Guest

At the 1500 population middle school where I teach, there used to be 50% free breakfast/lunch. That was bad enough…but today….it’s over 75%. I know these statistics well b/c I apply/write grants for our school for projects I would like to do w/our kids…you have to report accurate Federal statistics on applications at the front end….even if it’s only a 50-buck grant for seeds for a “community science garden.” We do NOT live in an inner city ghetto. We live in a “small town” (as CA goes) in a small business/rural farming/ commuter community almost equi-distant from San Diego/Los Angeles.… Read more »