WASHINGTON — Some 825,000 Ohio schoolchildren received free or reduced-price lunches last year, but far fewer than that – only 10 percent – are expected to participate in a federal program that provides the low-cost lunches during the summer, according to Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Brown, an Ohio Democrat, said 1,400 sites statewide last year provided lunches to students in families making between 130 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty level (about $24,600 to $34,300 for a family of three).

This year, so far, only about 1,000 sites have been established.

“We know it’ll increase,” said Brown, but added that he isn’t sure the state would match last year’s number.

He said part of the reason for the reduction may be budgetary — schools forced to make cuts may choose not to offer the lunch program even though the federal government reimburses them for the process. “It may not always be enough to cover it,” he said.


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