According to the state, the number of Texas children qualifying for federally subsidized school lunches jumped 5% in the last year. Many more recently unemployed parents may be unaware of the program.
“Schools absolutely should be more proactive about it,” said Celia Hagert, a senior policy analyst with the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities. “That could be a big boost for a family. If they’re struggling and can get breakfast and lunch for free, that’s a huge weight off their shoulders.”
Officials are also seeing an increase in the number of homeless children. Over 300,000 Texas children are currently homeless - more than any other state. "We are literally seeing our future generations living on the streets," said Amarillo food banker Zack Wilson.