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Last Updated August  20, 2014
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The Northwest Alabamian is published semi-weekly, except weekly Christmas and New Year’s when only the Wednesday edition is published at 1506 21st Street, Highway 195 East, P.O. Box 430, Haleyville, AL, 35565. Phone 205-486-9461. Entered as periodicals at the Post Office at Haleyville, AL 35565. Annual subscription rate is $34.50 for one year or $26 for six months for Winston County; $38.50 per year or $28 per six months for adjoining counties. Subscriptions for senior citizens (Winston Co. only) are $30 for one year or $22 for six months. All others are $50.50 per year or $32 for six months. POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESS CHANGE TO P. O. BOX 430, HALEYVILLE, AL 35565
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No money to dictators
Community eligibility: an exciting opportunity to fight child hunger in Alabama
If you have a
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Haleyville, Ala.
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The reason I keep writing about this subject is maybe some of you don’t quite understand. Politicians do speak in, let’s say, not plainly understood non-facts; in circles shall we say.
This is fact - many politicians, mostly governors, have decided purely on a partisan basis they do not have money to help sick children. You can call it other things, such as Medicaid expansion, whatever. It’s sick people they can’t afford to help.
But, these same people never one time voice a word of resistance against America sending billions upon billions of dollars to foreign dictators. Much of that money that is sent to foreign countries, your money, is never accounted for…billions.
But then when it comes to American children needing some of that money for just a doctor’s visit, it’s ‘Oh no, we can’t afford that.’
They, those governors, powerbrokers, can speak loud and clear about that - about American children. They can make plenty of excuses. Well, they can go to the emergency room, or maybe, ‘Let them eat cake’. Then you and I pick up the tab again, while plenty of our money goes to dictators. Besides, that stuff about  going to the emergency room has so many flaws you would not believe it.
I don’t know about you fellow Americans, but I had rather my money go to help American children than foreign dictators, who manage to live in big, big mansions and live a shameless luxurious life like their American benefactors. All while American children just ask for money for a doctor’s visit…FACT.
Nadine Hood Overstreet
As Alabama children head back to school this month, many will be able to leave their lunch money at home. Nearly 143,000 children in more than 20 high-poverty school districts can eat free breakfast and lunch this fall thanks to a new program called community eligibility.
 This program is an exciting new opportunity to help our children learn and thrive. Schools with significant numbers of low-income children can use the community eligibility option under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to provide free school meals for all their students, regardless of income.
 Nearly one in five students in Alabama public schools will benefit this year from this effort to fight hunger and promote the academic success associated with daily school breakfast and lunch. Huntsville, Mobile County and Montgomery are just three of the many places across the state with schools that will participate.
 Childhood hunger is a significant barrier to learning, especially in high-poverty states like Alabama, where more than one in five families with children do not always have enough food. Children who miss breakfast are more likely to have behavioral, attention and emotional problems and to have poor cognitive functioning than are children who eat breakfast at school.
 Accessible and healthful school meals help children do better in school and in life. Children who eat school breakfast eat more fruits, drink more milk and consume a wider variety of foods than do children who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home. Studies have found that children who eat breakfast closer to testing time perform better on standardized tests than do students who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home. Free school breakfast and lunch help ensure all children get the nutrition they need to learn and succeed.
 Community eligibility increases the number of children who eat meals at their schools. The program was piloted in 11 states, including Florida and Georgia, and data from the first two years show that 13 percent more children ate lunch at school than in the year before, and 25 percent more ate breakfast.
 One benefit of community eligibility is that, because all children are eligible, schools can serve breakfast in non-traditional ways, such as breakfast in the classroom or breakfast kiosks. Breakfast in elementary classrooms, where children and teachers eat together, improves learning and reduces disruptive behavior. And offering breakfast at “grab-and-go” kiosks can help improve learning and behavior in high schools where traditional breakfast participation is often low.
 Community eligibility will help working families whose children did not previously receive free or reduced-price meals. For example, reported that the program could save some parents of children in Chickasaw City Schools between $360 and $405 a year. That money could help boost the state’s retail economy or help families save more for college or retirement.
 This new program allows eligible schools to fight child hunger while saving on costly, time-consuming paperwork. That allows educators to focus on what is most important:  teaching children.
 Community eligibility may not be a fit for every school, but all eligible schools should take a close look to see if the program is right for them. Schools still have until Aug. 31 to decide whether to participate in community eligibility this year, and we hope even more schools will opt in before then.
 Meanwhile, we congratulate the schools that will feed all their children no-cost meals this year and look forward to a great school year for everyone. Enjoy breakfast and lunch, kids!
Carol Gundlach
Policy Analyst for
Arise Citizens’ Policy Project
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