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Line Grows Long for Free Meals at U.S. Schools

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groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 11:56 AM
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Line Grows Long for Free Meals at U.S. Schools
Millions of American schoolchildren are receiving free or low-cost meals for the first time as their parents, many once solidly middle class, have lost jobs or homes during the economic crisis, qualifying their families for the decades-old safety-net program.

The number of students receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million last school year from 18 million in 2006-7, a 17 percent increase, according to an analysis by The New York Times of data from the Department of Agriculture, which administers the meals program. Eleven states, including Florida, Nevada, New Jersey and Tennessee, had four-year increases of 25 percent or more, huge shifts in a vast program long characterized by incremental growth.

The Agriculture Department has not yet released data for September and October.

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.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/education/surge-in-free-school-lunches-reflects-economic-crisis.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2
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