A topic that has gained more attention since the start of the pandemic is food insecurities across the country. Having access to food within a reasonable distance and being able to afford a grocery trip is challenging for many families. A solution that schools across the country implemented years ago is access to free lunches.
In some communities this service goes beyond the one meal and offers breakfast and even a meal to take home. A challenge that is sometimes faced is to get students above elementary to not feel embarrassed in receiving this type of assistance. Anywhere in the country if there is a need for school aged children and teens, schools can step in. Providing them free lunches sets them up to be their most successful selves.
Looking at this map from the team at AAAStateOfPlay.com it is compelling to see the variety of needs that is spread across the country. It is difficult to not assess the neediest states first and there are 10 states that are most dependent on providing free lunch.
Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, South Carolina, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, California and Tennessee make up the list of 10.
Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia have some of the highest percentages of poverty in the country. There is no doubt that these free lunch programs are life savers in the communities that they serve.
There are also states that are the least dependent on having a population that is eligible for a free lunch program.
These 10 states are Idaho, New Jersey, South Dakota, Minnesota, Vermont, Wyoming, Utah, Delaware, North Dakota, and New Hampshire. All of these states have a percentage less than 39%. The majority of these states have no more of a geographical connection than the states that have the highest dependency.
It is challenging to see that there is such a high need for assistance in such a developed country, but at the same time, we are a country that can provide for those who are in need of the most help.