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Free and reduced lunch numbers increase

SUWANEE -- Members of the Gwinnett County Board of Education learned Thursday that more than half of students in the district continue to qualify for free or reduced lunch and breakfast.

At about 56 percent during the current school year, the number has steadily increased from about 40 percent during the 2007-08 school year.

According to a staff report, from July 1-Nov. 30, 2012, more than 56,000 free and reduced meal applications were processed, and 19 employees worked more than 7,000 hours to keep up with the increases in students who qualified.

District Spokeswoman Sloan Roach said that the "changes in the percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch really speak to changes in our community."

Added Roach: "The economic downturn has hit Gwinnett families hard. As a result, Gwinnett has become much more diverse socioeconomically. We know that for many of our students the meals they receive at school may be the only meal they eat during the day. Our School Nutrition Program does an excellent job of serving our students so that they are ready to learn."

According to the GCPS website, full-priced breakfast is $1.25, while lunch costs $2.

Some children may qualify for free meals or for reduced-price meals, which cost $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch.

To apply for free and reduced lunches, visit www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us, scroll down to the "Favorite Resources" section and click on "Free & Reduced Lunch Online Application."

To find out if your family qualifies, visit www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/notices/iegs/iegs.htm.

Comments

Sandykin 1 year, 10 months ago

Not only are more than half the students getting free or reduced price breakfast and lunch at school, but there are schools in Gwinnett that put together bookbags with school supplies for kids. If they are homeless, living out of a car, they are sent home on Fridays with a book bag of food for the weekend. Yes it's compassionate to feed the hungry, but there's a reason for the saying "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime". We need to be addressing the problem at the parental level, making sure parents have the skills to land a job in today's market that provides enough income to support their family.

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Sandykin 1 year, 10 months ago

Are you suggesting that's it's okay to have these kids on the free lunch entitlement in perpetuity?

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Sandykin 1 year, 10 months ago

I'll take that reply as confirmation that you're totally okay with leaving children on entitlements thru their informative years, giving them the impression that it's okay to grow up and raise their own families the same way they were - on entitlements. I want something better for these kids and know we need a discussion on how to get people off entitlements. You have to do this at the adult level. Tie the entitlement to proof that the adults in the home are working to improve their own situation. We do this with unemployment benefits already, why not do it with other handouts that typically run longer and/or are more expensive?

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cp3 1 year, 10 months ago

There is a need, no doubt. But you are fooling yourself if you think 56% is the real number. People are abusing the system. A percentage of these families have smartphones, HD flatscreens, hi-speed internet, etc. Some of these parents need to prioritize their spending. But many of them know the Government will 'enable' them if they work the system.

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Kent 1 year, 10 months ago

It would be interesting to know the percentage of these kids who have cell phones, and other hi tech gadgets, as well as big flat screen tv's with CATV @ home.

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news2me 1 year, 10 months ago

full-priced breakfast is $1.25, while lunch costs $2

This has to be for the elementary schools. Unfortunately, many of these students probably are Dekalb residents.

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dav 1 year, 10 months ago

Added Roach: "The economic downturn has hit Gwinnett families hard. As a result, Gwinnett has become much more diverse socioeconomically. We know that for many of our students the meals they receive at school may be the only meal they eat during the day

No child should have to go through the day hungry regardless if thier parent(s) waste money on other things.

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