National School Lunch Program assists millions of students

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Earlier this summer abc27 reported about a controversy over unpaid lunch debt at a school district in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The controversy brought up questions about the National School Lunch Program.

The program is federally assisted and is used in both public and private schools. It was established in 1946 and about 7.1 million children participated in that first year.

Since then the program continues to assist millions of students. In 2016, 30.4 million children participated.

How can children qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches?

The National School Lunch Program is based on household income and family size. Children from families with income at or below 130% of the federal poverty level qualify.

Those with incomes between 130% and 185% of the federal poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals.

Schools cannot charge children more than 40 cents for a reduced lunch.

In addition, many schools also offer a school breakfast program as well as summer feeding programs.

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