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No More Free Lunches: Congress may end program that provides free meals to students

No More Free Lunches: Congress may end program that provides free meals to students
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 8:03 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2022 at 8:05 PM CST
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SUPERIOR, WI (KBJR) - Since the beginning of the pandemic, students in our area have been able to eat school-provided meals for free.

For the past two years, cafeterias in Superior’s school district have been able to change the way they cater to students.

“We have been feeding kids in our community free of charge for breakfast, lunch and sometimes after-school meals,” said Jamie Wilson, Director of Food Service for Superior’s School District.

Free meals are something that can assist a family during times of financial crisis.

But the federal funding and USDA program that helped make those meals possible may be coming to an end, leaving a hole in the community.

“I think there’s a lot of working poor, a lot of families that just barely make ends meet,” said Wilson.

According to Wilson, when some high school students don’t have money or food for lunch, they’ll just skip the lunchtime hour.

“They just disappear because they don’t have money. Their parents don’t have the money, we just don’t see them, and they don’t get fed,” said Wilson.

Wilson said the time students spend in the lunchroom is an important part of their education.

“I think it’s one of the most important parts of the day, that’s where they learn to socialize,” said Wilson.

In Duluth, public school officials are also concerned for their students who may not be able to afford lunch in the near future.

“Having the food security of schools is really important for how kids learn,” said Adelle Wellens, Duluth Public Schools Communications Officer.

Both districts are still planning to assist their lower-income students once the free meals for all stop.

The schools have programs that families can apply for if they’re strapped for cash.

“So families that still need food will be able to get free and reduced lunch if they qualify,” said Wellens.

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