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Thursday, January 24, 2008

S.C. second in school free meals
Staff report
Thursday, January 24, 2008
South Carolina students eligible for free and reduced-price meals receive lunch and breakfast at the second highest rate in the nation, with 59.2 percent of students participating in both the school lunch and breakfast program last year.

The School Breakfast Scorecard 2007, a report by the Food Research and Action Center released Wednesday, found that the federally funded school breakfast program serves nearly 37 million breakfasts each year in South Carolina, with an average of 222,500 students participating each day. Nationwide, more than 8.1 million students per day took part in the school breakfast program during the 2006-07 school year.

Nationally, only 45 low-income children get breakfast at school for every 100 students who eat a free or reduced-price lunch. But the report praised South Carolina's efforts to promote breakfast and highlighted a video produced by the state Department of Education that focuses on creative ways to bring breakfast to more students.

The report found that many students miss out on breakfast at home because of poverty, stagnant wages, rising food costs and long commutes for parents to work. State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said that studies have shown a link between healthy breakfasts and student learning and that it's vital for the state to provide nutritious school meals.

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