Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rapid growth in subsidized lunches

A piece in the StarTribune, "Subsidized lunches", noted the dramatic increase in children qualifying for free or reduced rate meals.  This past year there were 21 million children who were eligible for federally subsidized food programs, up 17 percent since 2006-07. To qualify for a free lunch according to the federal guidelines a family would need to be making less than 130 percent of the poverty level.  This would equate to $29,055 for a family of four.  It is mind boggling to think that within the city of New York 62 percent of the children were eligible for free lunch this past year.

One of the impacts of this trend is the growth of working poor. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. We now have millions more who are no longer able to afford life's necessities: food, shelter and health care.  It is hard for children to do well in school when they're hungry, homeless or sick and can't afford to see the doctor.

How much do you know about poverty?  There is a quiz, sponsored by "Half in Ten", on the web.  The goal of this organization is to cut poverty in half in ten years.

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