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Federal Dollars to Help Hungry Kids | News

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Federal Dollars to Help Hungry Kids
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LAS VEGAS -- New federal legislation could help feed millions of hungry children in the United States and thousands in Southern Nevada. The program would allow kids to take food home during the weekends and holidays.

Right now, 45-percent of the students in the Clark County School District receive free or reduced meals. For many of these students there is no food at home. Congresswoman Dina Titus has a plan to change that.

At McCall Elementary, Principal Maria Chairez says 100-percent of her students receive the free and reduced lunch program. While they all qualify for free or reduced meals for breakfast and lunch, it's when they're not in school she worries.

"We have over 95-percent attendance. Why is that? They like coming to school. Why do they like coming to school? Part of that is because we give them food," she said.

Congresswoman Titus says lawmakers are working on legislation to end hunger for students. She plans to introduce the Weekends Without Hunger bill on Tuesday.

The bill would budget $10 million for agencies like Three Square or school districts to buy food for the neediest children to take home with them during the weekends and holidays.

"This is something kind of new and the federal government has left it to charity, now they need some help with federal dollars," she said.

Three Square packs nearly 6,000 backpacks every week for Clark County students, but it's not enough. They need more donations and resources.

"It's hard to raise student achievement when students are hungry," said Dr. Chairez.

The bill is expected to pass this summer. The pilot program would run for five years and then be evaluated by the Department of Agriculture on whether the goals are being met.

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