Free or reduced lunch on the rise at U.S. schools
Millions of schoolchildren across America are receiving free or low-cost meals for the first time as their parents have lost jobs or homes during the economic crisis.
The number of students receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million last year from 18 million in 2006-07, a 17 percent increase.
“These are very large increases and a direct reflection of the hardships American families are facing,” said Benjamin Senauer, a University of Minnesota economist who studies the meals program, adding that the surge had happened so quickly “that people like myself who do research are struggling to keep up with it.”
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