Free lunches offered at schools to expire this month
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Free school lunches for all students could be a thing of the past.
A federal waiver issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture made breakfasts and lunches free to all students regardless of their family’s income. The free school meals program is set to expire on June 30.
It started in March of 2020 for schools across Tennessee and the nation. Congress authorized the USDA to issue dozens of child nutrition waivers to keep kids fed during the pandemic.
Now, some Nashville parents are bracing for the additional expense as the cost of food, gas, and other living expenses continues to rise.
“Especially, everything is going up, from rent to gas, electric bills, everything. It’s definitely a big help,” said Dennis Rodriguez, a Maury County, dad of 4 kids. “I know people who have a hard time coming up with the money for food. I mean, I’m working a lot of hours right now, but I was in that situation couple of years ago where I only had to split two $2.99 cheeseburgers and now paying for lunch throughout the week for four kids...It adds up.”
If President Biden does not extend the free school meals program another year, families will have to apply for the free and reduced lunch program if they qualify. Otherwise, they will have to pay for lunch again.
Students can get complimentary breakfast and lunch around Nashville through the state’s Summer Food Service Program. There are about 60 sites and three mobile diners where students can get food Monday through Friday around 8 a.m. to noon.
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