school lunch

Oklahoma students will be able to get two free meals a day, thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture waiver granted to the state Monday.

The USDA waived a requirement that districts can provide free meals only if half of its students were eligible for free and reduced-price lunches.

Oklahoma students will continue receive meals from their schools during mass closures. The State of Oklahoma applied for and received two waivers from the US Department of Agriculture to distribute lunches to children living in low-income households.

Two pending rule changes meant to reduce what the Trump administration calls abuse of federal benefit programs could also mean hundreds of thousands of children lose access to free school meals.

When Elle Simone Scott was a young girl, her family relied on food stamps and her school's free lunch program to get by.

"At several points in my life, receiving free lunch when I needed it the most, it was so beneficial for me," she says. "You know, it was sometimes the most complete meal that I and some of my friends would have in a day."

Food Research & Action Center

Oklahoma children were better fed through the Summer Food Service Program last summer than they were the year before, according to the 2019 Food Research & Action Center report. And, advocates expect even more kids in the state to eat free meals through the program this summer. 

Three years after the shooting death of Philando Castile, his legacy of helping others continues. His mother, Valerie Castile, has given $8,000 to a Minnesota high school to settle school lunch debts. The donation, given on behalf of the Philando Castile Relief Foundation, alleviated the lunch debt at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minn.

A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.

School lunches are healthier than they were five years ago. But Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says schools need more flexibility in serving meals that kids will eat.

"If kids are not eating what is being served, they are not benefiting, and food is being wasted," Perdue said in a statement announcing a rule that is set to be published later this month.

The Trump administration has said it wants to remove burdensome regulation, and on Monday it served up a taste of what that looks like when it comes to two aspects of food policy: school lunch and calorie labels on menus.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a plan to delay a mandate that would require schools to further reduce sodium levels in the meals they serve. In addition, Perdue wants to give the green light to schools that want to serve some grains that aren't whole-grain rich.

Every day in this country students come to school without a way to pay for lunch. Right now it's up to the school to decide what happens next.

Since new legislation out of New Mexico on so-called lunch shaming made headlines, we've heard a lot about how schools react.

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