'Children Are Going Hungry': Why Schools Are Struggling To Feed Students
Six months into schools' pandemic-driven experiment in distance learning, much has been said (and debated) about whether children are learning. But the more urgent question, for the more than 30 million kids who depend on U.S. schools for free or reduced-price meals, is this:
Are they eating?
The answer, based on recent data and interviews with school nutrition leaders and anti-hunger advocates across the country, is alarming.
Among low-income households with children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, only about 15% have been getting those meals, said Lauren Bauer, a researcher at the Brookings Institution. She's been poring over the results of the U.S. Census Bureau's weekly Household Pulse Survey.
Anecdotally, school nutrition directors across the country tell a similar story.
"Every day I worry about them. Every day," said Alyssia Wright, executive director of Fulton County Schools' nutrition program in Fulton County, Ga. "We come up with ways every week to find a new way to get meals to our kids."
Because the old ways, from just a few months ago, aren't working anymore.