You might think families in the northern suburbs of Allegheny County don’t have a lot of urgent, basic needs.  But the demographics in our suburbs are changing, and more people than ever need help making ends meet.

According to numbers from the US Census Bureau, more than a quarter of student in the North Hills School District are eligible for free or reduced breakfast and lunch.  These are children from families meeting federal income eligibility guidelines.  For example, in the 2017-2018 school year, a family of four would need to have a yearly income of $46,435 or less to qualify.

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“Food insecurity,” or being without reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food, is just one symptom of families living at or below the poverty line.   Census numbers indicate that even some of our more affluent school districts have families living in poverty, which correlates to the number of school-age children receiving free and reduced breakfast and lunch.  If it weren’t for local food pantries and backpack initiatives (food that goes home on Fridays with qualifying students), many of our kids would go hungry at night and on weekends.

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