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School Officials Reach Out to Hungry Students

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Many of the thousands of students heading back to school across Central Florida are classified as ‘food insecure’.

In Orange County, officials are reaching out to those students on the first day of school to make sure they have enough to eat.

Last year, 65% of Orange County students qualified to receive free or reduced cost school meals.

That’s more than 100,000 students.

Orange County Public Schools senior director of food and nutrition services, Lora Gilbert, says even as the economy improves, the number of kids who are food insecure keeps going up.

“We had about 57%  about 3 years ago, so it’s definitely trending up,” says Gilbert.

“It’s very troubling. We do a lot of focus groups with students who don’t know what they’re going to eat for supper,” she says.

Gilbert says Orange County’s about on a par with Osceola, and she adds, in the Florida there are counties with an even higher percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced meals.

Gilbert says she wants to make sure families know about the program. Students can apply by completing a form online, and those applications can also help schools get additional resources for their classrooms.


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Matthew Peddie

About Matthew Peddie

Host of WMFE's Intersection & Assistant News Director

A recent transplant to the Sunshine State, Matthew Peddie grew up in New Zealand and studied journalism at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating with an MA in Journalism he returned to Christchurch, working as a reporter for Radio Live and Radio New Zealand. He’s reported live from the scene of ... Read Full Bio »

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