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Acting Secretary of Education Encourages Pennsylvanians to Help Others This Holiday Season

11/22/2022

Washington, PA – Donning an apron and hairnet, Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty today gave back to the Washington School District school community by serving lunch to elementary school students. Alongside school food service staff, Hagarty served students during two lunch periods.

"With the holiday season upon us, I encourage Pennsylvanians to do something kind for their neighbors and communities. Even small acts of kindness can go a long way," said Hagarty. "I'm helping to feed local students because the Wolf Administration has long been committed to ensuring that all learners have access to healthy, nutritious meals both in and out of school."

Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf announced his $21.5 million plan to provide universal free school breakfast for 1.7 million students across the commonwealth this school year. Pennsylvania children enrolled in public schools, intermediate units, charter schools, career and technology schools, and childcare institutions that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs benefit from this state-funded program.

The $21.5 million program is funded with prior year funding from the School Food Services General Fund appropriation. Interested schools that do not currently participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs can find information for applying on PDE's website.

More than 72 percent of students in Washington School District live under the poverty line, and the district places an emphasis on meeting the needs of the whole child to ensure academic success. Nutritional support plays a large part in this effort. 

"Research shows that hunger negatively impacts academic achievement," said Superintendent George Lammay. "Washington School District staff are keenly aware of the needs of its students and are grateful for the National School Lunch Program and the Wolf Administration's emphasis on providing nutritious meals for our students."

The Wolf Administration is committed to ensuring everyone has access to fresh, healthy food. Developed in 2016, the Governor's Food Security Partnership includes the departments of Aging, Agriculture, Community and Economic Development, Education, Health, and Human Services. Since the Governor's Food Security Partnership released Setting the Table: A Blueprint for a Hunger-Free PA in 2016, the Partnership and charitable food partners have made significant impacts across Pennsylvania. 

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kristin Boyd Edwards, kristedwar@pa.gov  

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