Few Students Take Advantage of Free Meals

Free meals at schools available for children go uneaten.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Julie Carey, NBCWashington.com

    School's out for summer, but the cafeteria is open. And almost empty.

    "Anyone 18 years old and younger" is invited to chow down during the lunch hour at California public schools during the summertime, according to the Bay Citizen.
    Last year, only 387,000 kids across California took advantage of the gratuitous carrots, cheese pizza and chicken nuts, the news source reported, a decrease of 30 percent since July 2008.
    Most of the participants are enrolled in summer school, though anyone is invited to eat if they're under 18 -- as evidenced by the "big red banner" hung outside Cambridge Elementary School in Concord, according to the news source.
    Only 16 percent of the two million students that took advantage of free or reduced-price lunches during the school year ate for free during the summertime, which means nutrition advocates fear a "food gap" during the summer months.