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Students advocate for school lunches

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Many districts often struggle with paying for school lunches. Now a new budget proposal has funding in jeopardy, so local students are taking action!

Students at Martin Luther King Elementary School in Utica are putting pens and pencils to paper to tell New York's senators and representatives just how important school lunches are each day. The letters will be sent to Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Congressman Michael Arcuri's office.

A proposal by Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln on the Senate floor called the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act 2010, is aiming to increase nutrition standards for school meals and ban junk foods in school. However, it only calls for an increase of six cents per meal or 2%. The proposal calls for a spending increase of $450 million per year over the next 10 years. That would equal 45% of what the President include in the proposed budget.

The School Nutrition Association estimates that schools could lose an average of 35 cents per meal.

Advocates are hoping the student's letters will have an impact, especially for those at MLK Elementary.

"They understand the importance of fresh foods," said RCIL Program Director Debra Richardson. "Over half the children in this class have diabetes in their family. And that really is a disability in itself in our health,"

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