The number of schools offering free meals to all students through the USDA’s community eligibility provision jumped 20 percent in this its second year, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced at a meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Washington.
He also announced that 97 percent of schools that participate in federal school meal programs are in compliance with heightened federal nutrition standards created under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
Community eligibility allows qualifying schools to offer universal free meals without requiring any students to qualify through family-income verification. Currently, more than 17,000 schools in high-poverty areas are offering nutritious meals to about 8 million students at no direct cost to the students through this provision.
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