Waivers allowing free school lunch for all children end this summer
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — Free school lunch for every student is about to be a thing of the past. In 2020, Congress gave the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to issue waivers that made free school meals possible for every child.
Absent congressional action, the waivers are due to expire on June 30.
As the cost of food rises along with other goods and services, Ginny Scott, director of food and nutrition for the College Community School District, said there’s a chance school lunches will go from free to more expensive than they were before COVID-19. “When the pandemic started, our high school students were paying $3.10 for a lunch, but because of all the supply chain issues, we’re worried we’ll have to raise our prices by at least a dollar per meal. ”
Scott said the cost of some ingredients had doubled. “Beef patties used to cost 46 cents a piece and now they are over 80 cents a piece. And that’s just the beef patty.
Abby Hogan has a fourth-grader at Prairie Hill Elementary. She said not having to pay for her child’s school meals in recent years has made a difference. “It has certainly been helpful, especially as a single parent. Any of these types of breaks are definitely beneficial. To have [free meals] to go is sad and scary.
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