Free meals for all at 77 Atlanta public schools

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A teacher lines up the students for school-prepared lunches at Madison Crossing Elementary School in Canton, Miss., Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. Scott Clements, director of child nutrition at the Mississippi education department, said they’ve ordered two truckloads of trade mitigation pulled pork and four loads of kidney beans for use in their cafeterias. The products are coming from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is giving away the foods it’s buying to help farmers hurt by trade negotiations. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

ATLANTA (AP) — Students in 77 Atlanta public schools are getting free breakfast and lunch, no matter their family income.

News outlets report the no-cost meal service is expanding from 60 schools to 77 this year. All school’s using the district’s food service are eligible.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides federal reimbursements for meals under a program Congress authorized in 2010. To qualify, schools must show that at least 40% of students receive some type of aid like food stamps. The district says 49% of students meet those requirements.

The program has just started but the district anticipates high participation from students.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says student feedback on the quality of the food has been positive.

A Drew Charter School student described the cheese pizza to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as “melt-in-your-mouth.”

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