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N.Y. School Districts Hope Changes To Meal Program Will Boost Participation

Mary Esch
A lunch served at J.F.K Elementary School in Kingston, N.Y., in January.

Some school districts in New York are getting creative to increase student participation in the state’s school lunch program. That’s according to a new report by Hunger Solutions New York, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to alleviating hunger.

Jessica Pino-Goodspeed, an author of the report, says some school districts are increasing participation by allowing all students to eat the meals, and by offering breakfast in the classroom.

“Making sure that morning meal is more accessible rather than depending on kids getting to school early rather, and choose breakfast time over socializing with friends, or getting homework done, or things like that.”

The report also found that less than one-third of eligible students in the state are eating federally funded free breakfasts at school.   

That low participation has caused the state to forfeit more than $71 million in federal reimbursements in the 2015-‘16 school year alone.

Ann is an editor and senior content producer with WSHU, including the founding producer of the weekly talk show, The Full Story.