VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Nearly half of Indiana school children receive free or reduced lunches.
That is up 27 percent since 2004. Add to that officials believe not every student that is eligible is even signed up!
The percent of students using free and reduced lunches jumped quite a bit during the last three years in Vigo County.
Right now, nearly 53 percent of students are on the program adding up to more than 8,200.
The Vigo County School Corporation points to the economy as a big part of the problem but also the rules change.
"I think everyone's income hasn't grown over the past two or three years, and as our guidelines increase a little bit, we get more and more people in the program," said Tom Lentes, Food Service Coordinator, Vigo County School Corporation. "It’s very hard for us with the guidelines; we can only serve so much for lunch and what it is. We try and give those kids as much as they can have."
This also points to trouble with the growing poverty rate.
Back in 2000, only 10 percent of Indiana's kids reportedly fought poverty. Now it's 25 percent.
"Our poverty rate goes up, so does the number of students using the school for their primary meal at lunchtime," said Bill Stanczykiewicz, Indiana Youth Institute. "That hungry child is going to find it much more difficult to learn today in school."
Organizations say this is a calling for everyone to take action, even just buying extra groceries to drop off at a food pantry.
For more information about how you can sign up for these lunches in Vigo County, contact the Vigo County School Corporation.
If you live in another county, contact your school corporation for more information.
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