More Georgia students than ever before are relying on federally subsidized school meals as families struggle to make ends meet in the sluggish economy. Many are getting them for the first time.
Nearly 60 percent of the state's public school students receive either a free or reduced lunch each day. That's an increase of about 47,000 students over the last five years in the program aimed at low-income families.
Experts said there are likely more needy students, but some families don't sign up for the federal program -- either because they don't want to ask for help or they don't know about it.
Across the country, with middle-class families walloped by the Great Recession, more than 20 million students receive federally subsidized lunches each day, compared to 17 million in 2006.