SAN ANTONIO – UPDATE AT 4:00 P.M.:
Harlandale ISD spokeswoman Natalie Bobadilla told KSAT.com they're proud of being recognized in Children at Risk's school food rankings and will to go above and beyond for their students.
"Our child nutrition department goes above and beyond when it comes to making sure our students are well fed. We are proud to provide free breakfast and free lunch to all of our students throughout the school year," Bobadilla told KSAT.com.
"We are also proud to provide free breakfast and lunch during the summer through the Summer Meals Program. The Children at Risk School Food Rankings is a testament to the hard work our child nutrition department does to ensure our students receive a nutritious meal every day and are ready to learn," Bobadilla said.
Bobadilla went on to say HISD is "happy to participate in the Afterschool Care Program, which provides students with a free snack."
A report that evaluates how well Texas school districts provide meals to students living in poverty showed the San Antonio and Harlandale Independent School Districts were recently ranked in the study’s top 10 “school food rankings.”
The report provided by “Children at Risk” -- a Texas nonprofit research and advocacy organization -- reviewed 62 Texas school districts that are known to have low-income students.
Among the 62 school districts with at least 10,000 students and at least 60 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, SAISD was ranked fourth and HISD followed at sixth.
In the report shared on Monday, Children at Risk calculates the rankings based off four factors for each district: School lunch participation, school breakfast participation, is child and adult care food program supper served, and is after-school item served.
For school districts with at least 50,000 students and at least 60 percent of students are economically disadvantaged, SAISD ranks first in the “top 9 large school food programs” list.
SAISD spokeswoman Leslie Price told KSAT.com the district knows hunger is a problem for so many children and is making sure every student has access to meals.
“Our goal at SAISD is to make nutritious meals available when and where students need them -- whether getting off the bus in the morning or during after-school tutoring,” Price said to KSAT.com.
“We’re tailoring programs to meet campus needs, offering our meals at no cost to all students, expanding programs such as supper and after-school snacks to all schools -- and establishing food pantries to combat food insecurity for those times that students are away from campus,” Price said.
Children at Risk said in a newsletter the “school districts at the top of our rankings are doing the very best at making sure low-income students access meals throughout the school day.”
According to the organization, the school programs are also linked to “better academic performance” for the students.
“We hope this information will raise awareness about best practices and help all Texas school districts better care for the health and well-being of our students in need,” the organization said in the newsletter.
KSAT.com reached out to Harlandale ISD and did immediately receive a statement from district officials.