Bill Would Boost Meal Program

Columbus Dispatch

WASHINGTON -- The federal government should do more to ensure that needy children are receiving the free and reduced-priced school meals for which they are eligible, Sen. Sherrod Brown says.

The Ohio Democrat says a bill he unveiled yesterday would lead to the addition of about 150,000 Ohio students, part of about 3.5 million nationwide, to the breakfast and lunch program at a total national cost of $1.5 billion to $2 billion over five years.

About 700,000 Ohio children are enrolled in the free or reduced-price meals program, but only about 524,000 of them actually got the meals during the school year, according to data that Brown's office attributed to the Ohio Department of Education. Brown thinks that about 150,000 more children, above the 700,000 enrolled, are eligible, his office said.

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