Most Hamilton schools to offer free lunch for all - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

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Most Hamilton schools to offer free lunch for all

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (Times Free Press) -

Put away the lunch money.

Come August, students at two-thirds of Hamilton County's schools will be offered free breakfast and lunch daily. The school system qualified for a federal lunch program that gives taxpayer-subsidized meals to all students in 47 schools -- regardless of family income.

School officials see many benefits of the program: Parents can save money, upwards of $700 per year for a student who eats breakfast and lunch daily. Students should have more time to eat instead of fumbling with payment at the cash register. And the move will cut down on the need for documentation to qualify for free and reduced-price lunch programs -- though families will still need to fill out some type of form.

Carolyn Childs, the county's director of school nutrition, said the program has reduced trips to the school nurse and increased attendance rates in other school systems that have it.

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