22 million kids rely on school lunches | CarePortalGO Project
Schools are reopening for the fall semester with a variety of remote, hybrid and in-person options and children are learning, but many of them are going hungry, too.
In the U.S., 22 million kids receive free or reduced-price lunch during the school year, which is funded by the National School Lunch Program. These school lunch programs are an important source of food for many children, some of which may be the only meals they receive in a day.
In many districts, the majority of children who qualify for subsidized school meals aren’t getting them. Only about 15% of children in low-income households who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals are currently getting those meals. Districts have come up with a variety of solutions, but many parents are back at work or don’t have transportation and can’t pick up the meals. Delivering the meals directly to the students is extremely costly — a price that many already struggling districts can’t afford, no matter how bad they’d like to.
It is critical that kids receive access to adequate food to learn and grow. Research has shown long-term links between food insecurity and a wide variety of health issues in children — elevated risks of asthma and other chronic illnesses and lags in educational attainment. According to a Brookings Institution researcher, the number of U.S. children in need of immediate food assistance is approximately 14 million.
Please help us provide a counter-surge of care to combat the food crisis affecting our nation’s vulnerable children. In a response to the pandemic, CarePortal created the Disaster Relief feature to mitigate food, home essentials and housing insecurities for the most vulnerable children and families.