Federal lunch program ceases to operate

Federal+lunch+program+ceases+to+operate

Raja

Rajan Gandhi, Staff Writer

With a new school year beginning with post-pandemic guidelines, there have been changes regarding school lunches. During the pandemic, the government funded public schools with the “federal pandemic relief program”, in which schools could supply lunches with no cost to students. Now that we are in the recovery stage of the pandemic, this program is no longer offered to our school, so the regular costs of school lunches are back. 

53.3% of students who were surveyed last year used the ability to get free lunches. Out of the 53%, 14% of them chose to get free lunches 1-2 days per week, 7% picked up free lunches 3-4 times a week, and 33%  utilized free lunches 4-5 days a week. The rest did not take free lunches. The majority of students who did take advantage of free lunches, took advantage of it as much as they could. This shows quite how effective and needed free lunches were for some students. 

 

Compared to the 53% of students who took advantage of free lunches last year, only just over 10% of students qualify for free or reduced lunches this year. It can be seen that school lunches needing to be paid for has affected how many times a week they are bought and that it has affected some students. 

 

“I think they should be free because not everyone can afford them all year long”, shares 11th grader Alex Ferrante. Students have clearly shown how they feel about paying for school lunches and they are being considerate to how it affects all students. 

 

“Free lunches are good because they help students who are not as privileged as other students”, shares 11th grader Deven Gandhi. According to some students, free lunches are great because students who are not as lucky as others get the ability to eat for free. However, now that all students are not able to get free lunches, the percent of students who are eating lunch for free is down 43% from last school year. 

 

50% of students included in the survey stated that school lunches do affect the frequency in which they buy lunch. Paying for school lunches has affected how many times students purchase lunch, showing how the decrease in lunches being bought this school year versus last year.