New bill could Alabama allow schools to give unused food to students year-round

Most schools already have a summer and/or weekend food system for students.

Posted: May 13, 2019 6:28 PM
Updated: May 13, 2019 6:40 PM

A new bill could allow schools to give unused food to students who need it, year-round.

It comes after an Arab lawmaker's father got tired of seeing large amounts of leftover food in the trash. Most schools already have a summer and/or weekend food system for students.

The director of the Food Bank of North Alabama, Shirley Schofield, said there are about 60,000 kids in the area who don't have access to a nutritious meal everyday.

Right now, school districts can't just give extra food away. Under current federal law, food can only be donated to food banks and other charitable organizations.

"Why wouldn't you feed children? That doesn't make any sense," said a former teacher.

That was a common reaction from teachers and parents when WAAY 31 told them about the school food bill.

Schofield says the bill would help children succeed.

"If you don't have that access, being hungry or not having the proper food can really affect them. Their ability to learn," said Schofield.

Representative Wes Kitchens' bill would allow schools to create new policies for giving away extra food for students to eat at home, if they qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Madison County and Madison City school districts tell WAAY 31 they have a small system in place to help students in need over the weekend and summer, but they are excited to see if this bill gets passed.

"Any opportunity to increase the amount of food that is going to children that are in need is wonderful to take a look at," said Schofield.

Representative Kitchens hopes the bill will get voted on before the end of the week is over.

We did some checking, and found out 25% of children in Marshall County don't have food-security at home. The highest percentage was in Franklin County at 26%, and Madison and Limestone counties had the lowest at 20%.

These numbers come from the Kids First Data Book annual survey.

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