Over the course of the pandemic, a federal program was created to give free (or reduced price) breakfast and lunches to Iowa students. This might be one of the few positive things to come from a pandemic that shut down the entire world. Sadly, those free breakfast and lunches could be coming to a close at the end of June.

KCRG reports the USDA program that has helped supply free food to students might expire on June, 30th. Over half of the students in the Cedar Rapids school district qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. KCRG reports it's actually closer to 57% of students.

Unsplash - Mario Gogh
Unsplash - Mario Gogh
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The good news is it is possible for Congress to extend this program, which was originally started to help students and their families during the pandemic.

This is a difficult situation for both sides. Schools can't and shouldn't be expected to hand out free or reduced food forever. We're always hearing and reading about schools having to cut costs or not having enough money for things. Can we really expect schools to shell out thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, to supply food for students?

 

On the other side of the fence, do we really want kids, whose families may be struggling, to not eat anything? There are more students than we'd probably like to know, who count on those meals as possibly being the only food they eat all day.

According to Business Insider, millions of kids go hungry in the United States during the summer because they don't have school lunches. Only 16% of kids who qualify for free or reduced lunch have access to summer meals.

Kyle Koeppen is the superintendent for Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District and he told KCRG school districts could lose a lot of money if parents don't fill out the application for free or reduced lunches.

It costs hundreds and thousands of dollars over the course of the year to purchase the commodities and the food to bring into the district and if we’re not being reimbursed for that, then it’s not sustainable to pay for the food at hand.

If you believe you qualify for the free or reduced lunch program, you are requested to please fill out this application.

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