More eligible for free school lunches, but not everyone will get them

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — On average, 60 kids a day flock to the Martin Memorial Library in York for a free lunch.

“I can’t do certain things on an empty stomach, like I can’t read or stay still,” 13-year-old Cristian Santiago said.

The program is part of the state’s effort to provide free lunches to kids across the commonwealth.

“We want to make sure that our kids have the nutrition that they need to be successful, so that’s really important,” said Dr. David Volkman, executive deputy secretary of the state Education Department.

This week, the USDA raised the income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced school meal programs, meaning more kids are able to get a free lunch. However, there is a cap on how many kids can benefit from the program.

“That is something that we are very concerned about, the adequacy of funding for more folks to enjoy that higher level of nutrition that they need,” Volkman said.

In this year’s budget, Gov. Tom Wolf has proposed increasing funding for breakfast programs by 62 percent over the next 2-3 years.

“I think it’s more or less hoping that we get some additional state money. I think moving forward, the Share Estimate Program for Breakfast, I think were going to hopefully increase the number of kids that can participate in that,” Volkman said.

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