How you can help kids stay full and focused in school - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How you can help kids stay full and focused in school

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RICHLAND, WA - We've all heard how important proper nutrition is when it comes to kids succeeding in school. Sadly, many kids in our area can't afford to eat breakfast or lunch.

But as reporter Mackenzie Allen found out, there are easy things you can do to make a big impact.

School districts are able to buy food in bulk - greatly lowering what they have to charge students. But even that total can sometimes start to add up, and leave kids with growling stomachs.

In the Richland School District, about 32 percent of kids qualify for free or reduced lunches. The big concern, though, are the kids who don't quite meet those requirements...but still can't afford a lunch every day.

"For a single elementary child to eat lunch in our district is 700 dollars a year," said Dawn Trumbell with the Richland School District. 

The federal government is pushing each school district to have a policy on kids who don't have money for lunches; and while technically schools in Richland aren't supposed to serve food without payment, Trumbell says they don't want to turn hungry kids away.

"When an elementary student comes up to the line, and they don't have funds, we feed them," Trumbell said. "We're not going to ruin the little guy's day by not giving them lunch." 

The district will soon have a program called The Superhero Fund that allows people like you to donate directly and ensure kids who fall between the cracks have what they need.

"The goal is to not necessarily target the kids that are free or reduced, but the kids that have no other options."

But if you want to help right now, all you have to do is head to Hop Jacks for a bite to eat.

"Each of our Hop Jacks chose their school districts within their area, so each Hop Jacks if you order a kids meal, 50 cents goes to that school district," explained Jackson Davis, the Richland Hop Jacks manager.

In Richland alone, nearly $4,500 has been donated to keep kids full and focused.

Meanwhile, The Superhero Fund to donate directly to the schools should be up and running by next month.

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