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by Slow Food USA Interns Alex Tung and Leah Gorham

This week, the front line for getting better food into schools is Philadelphia.

After narrowly escaping the closure of its school breakfast and lunch program, which provides free meals to 120,000 low-income students without requiring their families to fill out unduly paperwork, Philadelphia has turned the tables: five Pennsylvania Congressmen are introducing bills in the House and Senate that would expand the city’s paperless program to the rest of the nation. Together, the Paperless Enrollment Act for School Meals of 2009 and Rep. Joe Sestak’s School Meal Enhancement Act of 2009 would give schools an alternative to the current application processing system and would make it easier for poor families to apply for free and reduced-price meals.

In a press release, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, a co-sponsor of the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2009, said, “Modernization of the school lunch program is one of my top priorities when the Senate reauthorizes the Child Nutrition Act later this fall…. The current system is inefficient and outdated.”