School Tells Students If They Eat Michelle Obama Lunches They Can Win Prizes
As a result of a growing backlash against the federal government's school lunch program, a Colorado school district has started "bribing" students to eat the meals.
The Jefferson County school district introduced a "Hungry to Win" raffle, offering students a chance to win a prize if they buy the healthier lunches.
"With all the new regulations and the changes that we've made, our lunch participation has gone down," Lori Burris, Jeffco Schools lunch facilitator, said. "So, this was to be an incentive to try school lunch and maybe bring them back."
Burris created the "Hungry to Win" contest. It is a raffle where students are entered to win prizes just for ordering a school lunch at any school in the district. She says lunch sales were down six percent in the fall of 2013.
"We think it's because they don't necessarily like some of the new changes that we've had to make," Burris said. "The food is much healthier. We are lower in salt. We are lower in fat. We have more grain. We have more fresh fruit and vegetables, but it takes a little while for kids to get used to that."
Students qualified to win smaller prizes like jump ropes, kites, movie tickets, and iTunes gift cards. But, they were also eligible to win grand prizes of bicycles and iPods.
Championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act was passed in 2010 as part of an effort to combat childhood obesity.
But the result has been lunches that have left students complaining about tiny portions and unappetizing options.
Students' frustrations have been documented on social media using #ThanksMichelleObama (below).
In the new $1.1 trillion spending bill - which was passed by the Senate Sunday night - Associated Press reported that lawmakers would be relaxing some of the federal standards for the lunches.
The provision would not allow schools to opt out, which House Republicans had sought. But it would ease standards that require more whole grains in the lunches and delay new rules on sodium content set to take effect in 2017.
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