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  • Writer's pictureAriel Tull

School Lunch Status

The US Department of Agriculture, better known as USDA, will reimburse schools to give free meals to all students through the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 for the 2021-22 school year.

Every student, regardless of financial income, will receive meals including breakfast and lunch without charge at school.

The most prevalent factor that led to the implementation of the USDA’s decision was COVID 19.

“At a time when millions of families continue to face financial strain, hunger and hardship, these waivers allow schools to reach more kids with the food they need,” said Lisa Davis, senior vice president of national child hunger organization Share Our Strength.

Unfortunately, the free food program is not here to stay. The Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 is temporary.

“While the extension of these short-term waivers will come as a relief to many families, without a permanent solution to provide free meals to all students, schools will eventually have to revert to the complicated myriad of paperwork and programs—where only some kids get to eat for free,” the lawmakers wrote.

COVID 19 has caused economic hardship for the majority of families. It could take years for lower-income households to recover and bounce back from the effects of the pandemic.

A one year extension of free food may not be enough. Parents and advocates recognize the problem and continue to push to make free meals a permanent part of every student’s life.

Until an official decision about food prices in school is made, families can at least breathe a sigh of relief for the temporary financial assistance.


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