Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

India's Free Lunch

It's a fact: Hungry kids have a hard time learning. They can't concentrate. They don't behave well. Their academic performance suffers. It's why Bread for the World pushed Congress to renew the Child Nutrition Act last year. We were excited when it passed.

Over in India, all primary schools have been providing a free lunch for their students since 2001. The students also get vitamin A, iron, folic acid, and de-worming tablets with their meals. The result has been improved student health and lowered truancy rates. In the state of Karnataka, the number of children out of school fell to 70,000 in 2007 from 1 million in 2001, said Vijay Bhaskar, secretary of primary and secondary education for the Karnataka government.

"I would only say that children would like only a hot cooked midday meal," said Bhaskar. "Because any person who has seen children eating a hot meal would know that no cookie can substitute for it."

This story is part of our Wednesday ViewChange video series.


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