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October 31, 2014

More Pa. Students Eligible for Free School Meals

Thousands of students in Pennsylvania are being better fed to focus on learning this fall, as the Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act expanded to the Commonwealth this school year. The provision, which allows everyone in qualifying schools to receive free breakfast and lunch, saves the cost of processing paperwork and removes stigma for children who whose families cannot pay.

See a map of eligible schools and districts, and who is participating in Pennsylvania.

Schools qualify based on the proportion of students receiving SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), MA (Medical Assistance), and other programs, to estimate need and receive reimbursement for meals served. The money saved in payment paperwork can be funneled into food for children. The new nutrition guidelines require healthier foods to be served, as well. Studies show good nutrition does more than foster good health: It promotes attendance, better behavior and increased academic performance.

Although new to Pennsylvania, the provision has been piloted in several states since the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed in 2010.

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