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Agriculture News As It Happens

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New York schools get disaster relief for school lunch

The Agriculture Department has given the New York City schools permission not to charge students for meals for the remainder of the school year while the city recovers from Hurricane Sandy, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced this week.

The New York State Department of Education requested full reimbursement for the school meals, and Schumer and Kirsten backed the request in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Before the disaster, approximately 86 percent of the lunches served in the New York City school district on an average day were served at a free or reduced price, and as many as 40,000 New York City households are displaced or sheltering in poorly heated homes with no power, the senators wrote Vilsack.

A USDA spokeswoman confirmed that USDA had granted the request, and said that no other jurisdiction in the hurricane area has asked to be relieved of the requirement to charge children for school lunch.