Report questions Hawaii’s low enrollment rate in after school supper program

Report questions Hawaii’s low enrollment rate in after school supper program
School lunch in Hawaii (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tens of thousands of low-income kids in Hawaii are eligible for free after-school suppers under a federally-funded program.

But a new report from the Food Research and Action Center shows that only 259 students in the islands are signed up to get the meals, which in many locales are served during after-school activities.

That’s the lowest enrollment rate in the nation.

The state Education Department acknowledged it doesn’t have a statewide after school supper program. Suppers are only served at boarding programs at Lahainaluna High School on Maui and the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind.

In response to the report, a DOE spokeswoman released this statement:

“The Department is currently focused on increasing student breakfast and lunch participation; increasing the use of locally grown produce and meats in school meals; and increasing summer feeding through the Seamless Summer Option program, which expanded service this year with a delivery truck.”

The Hawaii Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice said by not serving after school meals, the Education Department is leaving about $600,000 in federal reimbursements on the table.

“Afterschool programs keep children safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. Afterschool programs are also an essential part of the effort to combat childhood hunger," said Paula Adams, of the Hawaii Afterschool Alliance, in a news release.

“Unfortunately, we are not offering enough meals during the after school hours.”

To read the full FRAC report, click here.

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