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Orland students' food insecurity

One student from Orland says she depends on help to fend off hunger.

Posted: Jan 13, 2020 7:31 PM
Updated: Jan 14, 2020 8:32 AM

ORLAND, Calif. - Officials in the City of Orland say thy are learning of more and more students who are living with food insecurity.

One Orland student told Action News Now she depends on help from the school to keep her fed.

"We're offering five food components and the students have to choose at least three," said Sepon Istepanyan, the district's student nutrition manager.

Istepanyan said the district's main job is to make sure students have enough to eat. He added food insecurity is one of the issues he is trying to eliminate.

"It's extremely unfortunate that certain kids in our community only get to eat at school," said Istepanyan.

The Community Eligibility Provision Program provides free meals to students from kindergarten to 8th grade.

Istepanyan said half of the district's 1,500 students eligible for the lunch are either Cal Fresh recipients, homeless, runaways or immigrants.

President Trump's administration is expected to cut access to food stamps for more than 700,000 people come April.

Officials with the California Department of Social Services say that could impact some 400,000 people on Cal Fresh.

Giselle Amador, a senior at Orland High, has aspirations to go to UCLA. She explains without the program, that might not happen.

"Most of the time, parents are low income but they didn't fill out the application so they're paying full price for the lunch when they could've been getting it for free," said Amador.

"Eliminating those little barriers to get them to the end goal, we all do our part," said Istepanyan.

Orland High School does not qualify for free meals for all of its students but the district recently received a $1,600 donation to pay off any student debt. The check came from New York Giants football player Aldrick Rosas and Orland Business owner Joser Rosales.

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