Newly elected San Diego Unified school board member Richard Barrera wants schools to double as intake centers where families can sign up for food stamps, with the goal of getting more eligible people enrolled. San Diego has historically ranked dead last among cities in enrolling eligible families for the federal food stamp program, causing the region to lose an estimated $200 million annually, Barrera said. (My colleague Kelly Bennett has done a great job covering this issue — check out this article for more details on why San Diego has faltered in food stamps.)

“It’s crazy that we do such a poor job, but then the impact on families is the real issue. Kids are literally going to bed hungry, with less food than they should have,” Barrera said. “What I want to find out is, can the school district start to take on some of this role?”

Schools already provide some food services based on income: Students must return forms to qualify for free and reduced-price lunches at schools. If the San Diego Unified board throws its support to the idea on Tuesday, staffers will begin researching the costs of enrolling families in the program. It looks like he already has one ally: School board President Katherine Nakamura has also signed on to the proposal.


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