18 O.C. schools to offer free meals

SANTA ANA, Calif. According to the Orange County Register, the schools have been chosen to participate in a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program for the entire duration of the 2009-2010 school year.

At least 85 percent of students in all 18 school campuses already qualify for the federally funded free meal program, which gives meals to children of low income families.

The USDA program aims to improve nutrition in schools serving the most underprivileged populations. Officials also say that instead of using school funds to figure out who qualifies for the free meal program, those funds can be freed to feed every child.

Officials say if the program turns out to be a success, it could be extended another three years. For 10 of the 18 schools, this is their second year feeding every child for free.

Many parents are happy about it and say they welcome the healthy free meals, especially during these tough economic times.

Santa Ana Unified School District is the only school district in Orange County participating in the USDA program.

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