Hunger among school-age children in Connecticut is on the rise and experts do not expect the trend to change soon given the state’s 9 percent unemployment rate and sluggish economy.
That’s the finding of an article at CT Health I-Team (c-hit.org), which is a media partner of CTLatinoNews.com. “Children in Connecticut are hungry,” said Susan Maffe, president of the School Nutrition Association of Connecticut (SNACT) and director of Food Service for the Meriden public school system. “We know of children who come to school on Monday whose last meal was probably the lunch they ate at school on Friday.”
Among the evidence of childhood hunger in Connecticut:
- Thirty-four percent of all students in Connecticut’s public school districts were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch during the 2010-11 school year, up from 26.4 percent during the 2004-05 school year, according to Connecticut Department of Education statistics.
- Urban areas account for a large proportion of those in need. In Bridgeport, for example, 98.8 percent of the student body is eligible for free and reduced-priced meals. But rural and suburban communities are impacted, too. The number of eligible students from affluent towns such as Glastonbury (498) and Westport (173), for instance, has more than doubled. Other towns, such as Avon (190), have seen a threefold increase, the state numbers show.
A total of 191,116 students were eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch during 2010-11. Free or reduced-price meals are served to students whose family income is at or below 130 percent (free meals) or at or below 185 percent (reduced-price meals).