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School lunch law leaves children hungry

Hancock head cook, Connie Engler, discussed the changes due to Federal Regulations that are affecting school lunches across the country.

New guidelines in the program require that just about 80 percent of the food served is fruits and vegetables. They can no longer serve bread separately such as putting out peanut butter sandwiches as extra filler for the students. They have to keep track of calories, portions, sodium and grams of fiber.

She added that they can no longer set out a jug of ketchup. Instead, small packets, with limited numbers, of condiments are put out. This not only limits what students can use but is also more costly since the packets are more expensive than bottles of ketchup or dressing.

Engler said that she is making the adjustments in baby steps but has had some complaints from students who say they are still hungry. Many bring in extra food from home to supplement the meals. However, Engler does not encourage food brought in from other vendors, such as restaurants.

The new regulations are part of a Federal Program said to be initiated by Michelle Obama called the Hungry Children Act. Engler said that after one meal, a young child asked her if she had Michelle Obama's phone number. The child wanted to call Mrs. Obama and tell her that the children are still hungry.