Vermont becomes first state to provide low-income students with free meals

Students who qualify for reduced-price meals will receive free breakfast and lunch during the school day.

Sept. 5—With the school year just underway, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca today visited Barre Town Elementary School to herald a new law making Vermont the first state in the nation to provide school meals –breakfast and lunch — at no charge for all students qualifying for the federal reduced-price meals program.

“We all know that hungry children can’t learn,” said Gov. Shumlin, who was joined by advocates committed to the battle against childhood hunger. “Vermont is the first state to ensure that all children have access to good food, and therefore a better education.”

Previously, children whose families earned over 130 percent of the federal poverty level (roughly $30,620 for a family of four) were ineligible for free school meals. The new law means that 37,000 children are now able to have breakfast and lunch at no charge during the school day.

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The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., will soon switch over from magnetic strip-based student ID cards to chip-based ones, The Observer reports.

Along with being more secure, the new cards will allow students easier access to dining halls, enabling them to simply tap their cards on a reader to gain entrance. Students will also be able to add flex points and Domer Dollars—which can be used at eateries on and off campus—to their accounts via a mobile app.

The new cards are expected to be available by the time school begins next fall.

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University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

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Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

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