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School Lunches

In the United States, the idea of offering lunches to schoolchildren was introduced in the early 1900s, when schools began responding more deliberately to the social needs of students. One of the main arguments in favor of providing school lunch was that a compulsory education would be lost on students who were too hungry to learn. Widespread support for a federal program did not come about, however, until World Wars I and II proved hunger to be a national security threat and the Great Depression left American farmers looking for an outlet for surplus crops. The resulting threefold concern for national security, the farm economy, and hunger eventually led to the federal government’s permanent authorization of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in 1946. The ...

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