Dinner now on the menu for many schools

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act provides federal funds for the after-school dinner program in some areas.

Feb. 20—Not only do schools worry about students not receving proper nutrition during lunch, dinner is becoming a growing concern for many students as well. So Doug White, principal of Garfield Elementary School in inner-city Kansas City, was relieved when his school, like many across the country, began offering dinner to students enrolled in after-school child-care or tutoring programs.

With breakfast and lunch already provided for poor students, many children now are getting all their meals at school.

“When you know about those situations those kids are bringing into the school and we are asking them to sit down and concentrate and do their work, and they might be hungry and we haven’t been made aware of it yet—we definitely want to do everything we can to help the kids,” White said.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2010, provides federal funds for the after-school dinner program in areas where at least half the students qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Before the change, the program was limited to 13 states and the District of Columbia. Most states had provided money for only after-school snacks.