Schools across country no longer providing free lunches for students


Troy Pawlowski, Sports/Copy Editor

After two years of student lunches being provided by the school for no cost, the cost of lunches has returned for the new school year. With the announcement of the changes made to lunches over the summer, students now have to give more thought about what they will eat for lunch for the day. The Keep Kids Fed Act is a new law that was signed by President Biden that provides the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) with the ability to reimburse students with a small amount for paying for lunches. 

Initially, the bipartisan legislation eliminated reduced-price meals, allowing students [to be] eligible for reduced-price meals through the Agriculture Department’s National School Lunch Program to get free meals, rather than pay 40 cents for lunch and 30 cents for breakfast,” said an article written by NBC news. 

Students are still able to receive reduced-price lunches after this law was passed, but they must apply and be considered eligible. 

With lunches being regularly priced now, some students may not eat anything at all.

“I think the school should be obligated to feed the students who are obligated to attend,” senior David Denkovich said. “Free breakfast and lunch provide the valid nutrition needed to learn efficiently in class.” 

Households for some students are very different from others. It is a possibility that a child’s family could struggle financially with putting food on the table, as well as paying for school lunches. With the new law signed by Biden, the USDA can help provide a nutritional lunch for kids at school. While the lunches and breakfast are still priced, a reimbursement could still be provided. The law affects the nation as a whole, as schools across the country have priced their meals once again. 

“I think that it is not a big deal to me personally, but I do know it can affect many people who can not afford it or who struggle to afford meals,” sophomore Isabella Evans said. 

The reason why schools have priced their lunches so high could be a result of supply chain and delivery issues, as well as inflation due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the past couple of years, schools struggled with supply chain issues, even though the school provided lunches for students. 

“There are still issues with COVID, as food prices are still elevated,” food service director Randy Walker said. “When food was free for students, participation with meals was up 30%. There is a definite gap of participation with meals this year.” 

As students come back to the classrooms for another school year, priced lunches are just one more item on the list of obstacles they have to worry about. School breakfast and lunches offer the recommended nutrition for students during the day for learning. The USDA has a slight reimbursement set up for students, but the prices are still high, and the amount the organization can give back is small. 

As of late September, the school meals administration has announced that school breakfast will be free to students starting in October. For many students who don’t have time for breakfast in the morning or it is not available at home, this is going to be helpful for the school year.