The impact of the recession is stretching into Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS). The school system says the number of students on free and reduced lunch has grown steadily within the last three to four years.
"Albemarle County has approximately 3,000 students, that's about one in four students, that's eligible for free and reduced meals, said ACPS Director of Food Services Christina Pitsenberger.
Eligibility for the free and reduced lunch program is based on family income. This comes alongside a report from the United States Department of Agriculture, which shows one in six Americans lives in a household at risk of hunger.
Currently, nearly 17 million children in the United States face hunger. Charlottesville's Children, Youth, and Family Services (CYFS) says it has seen an increase of people working two and three jobs to support families and stretching dollars to the end of the month.
"When Charlottesville has been designated as the top city, it's hard for folks to believe that we have these pockets of poverty, and we really do have these pockets of poverty," said CYFS Executive Director Jacki Bryant. "They can be hidden, but that doesn't mean they don't exist."
The City of Promise Charlottesville is a program that works with families to help children build successful lives beginning at a young age. City of Promise Executive Director Sarad Davenport says the key to dealing with the poverty is making it more of a community issue and tackling education.
"We also as a community have to work with those people who didn't necessarily have the best educational experience for whatever reason and get them on track, so they can have an economically viable lifestyle also," he said.
Albemarle County is encouraging eligible families to take advantage of the free and reduced cost meals program for their kids. It can be done at any time in the school year. Click here for more information.
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012.Full Story
Natalie Wilson joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2012. She is a proud alum of Howard University and is currently pursuing her Master's in Communication at Johns Hopkins. Email/ Full Story
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