WASHINGTON (AP) -- Public schools in Washington have started serving dinner to about 10,000 students to help curb childhood hunger.
Many of the students are now receiving three school meals a day. Montgomery and Prince George's counties offer a third meal in some schools but on a smaller scale than D.C. schools.
The program is expected to cost the school system about $5.7 million this year. A federal program reimburses part of each meal's cost.
The change comes amid heightened concern about childhood poverty. Census data shows the poverty rate among black children is 43 percent, up from 31 percent in 2007. That is significantly higher than national poverty rates.
School menus have been revamped with fresh fruits and vegetables. Officials say many kids aren't getting fruit anywhere else.