Schools serving an after-school snack or dinner is a growing national trend, and Philadelphia is at the forefront. According to The New York Times
, the number of students served dinner or an after-school snack nationwide rose to nearly 1 million last year.
More recent research indicates while family dinners can be linked to fewer symptoms of depression, most of the other benefits seem to decrease when demographic and other environmental factors are taken into account. At a time when many families have hectic schedules, dinner at school could provide some relief, said Rachel Dunifon, a policy professor at Cornell University.
"If these meals help alleviate stress, it could actually be good and open up more time for families," she said.
[The Los Angeles Unified School District] currently serves supper to 75,000 students and plans to expand the program to about 150,000 over the next two years. School officials estimate it will generate $16.6 million in revenue, which will go toward expanding the program.
Other large, urban districts with dinner programs include Philadelphia and District of Columbia public schools. Wayne Grasela, senior vice president for food services, said the School District of Philadelphia now serves 4,500 dinners each day.
Original source: The New York Times
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