Onslow Co. Schools focuses on improving child nutrition program

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) —The Onslow County Board of Education met on Thursday to discuss its child nutrition program.

The top priority for the school system is making sure food is not wasted and children are not hungry.

“Statewide, I believe everybody is focusing on how they can feed children,” said Pam Thomas, the Board of Education’s chairman. “How they can collect on unpaid charges, and what we can do to get more applicants to apply.”

In Onslow County, 46.3 percent of the school system’s students receive food assistance, and the system is facing challenges getting students to sign up.

“It’s just a matter of the process is probably longer than we want it to be,” Thomas said.

More than 5,000 Onslow County kids are food insecure.

Clyde Erwin Elementary is one of the top schools in the county with students receiving assistance. Principal Lori Howard takes an active role in making sure they receive the help they need.

“I can’t imagine going to my fridge or pantry and there not being adequate food for my family,” Howard sad. “It is a stark reality that this is the case for many of our children. So anything we can do at the school level I am certainly happy to go that extra mile to make sure our children are eating.”

That means making sure every parent receives a free or reduced lunch application each year.

The number of students receiving assistance and of applications for assistance increased by about seven percent this school year.

The school board is comparing various ideas to increase application amounts, including applications in report cards mailed home at the end of each school year. The board said it is just the beginning of many more discussions on this issue.

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