State concerned proposed SNAP changes will impact free meals at school

By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state’s high percentage of schoolkids who receive free meals could be threatened with changes being considered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.USDA has proposed changing its direct certification process involving SNAP benefits.

Currently, if a child’s family receives food stamps it automatically makes them eligible for free meals at school. The change would require those families to sign-up separately for the school meal program.

West Virginia Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition Executive Director Amanda Harrison said Monday the department and state DHHR are concerned the change could result in kids going hungry. They believe 120,000 households could be negatively affected.

“Now you have to fill-out this. It’s an extra step. It’s an extra hoop. It’s just a really unfortunate mechanism by which we would make a household have to prove they need some assistance,” she said.