One good benefit of the COVID-19 pandemic was that universal free lunch, regardless of the situation, became the norm for kids across America in school. However, Congressional inaction dating back to June is about to disrupt that for thousands of hungry kids whose own families are struggling with inflation like almost any other family. Thanks to sky-high food costs more families than ever before very much depended on the program as school kicked back into gear for the new school year.
Because Congress did not expand the waiver program that resulted in more families being able to get into the program those same families now no longer qualify because they make too much money — even in the face of soaring food costs.
Around 30 million students were receiving free meals at school, according to the US Department of Agriculture, up from about 20 million children who qualified based on their household income prior to the pandemic.
This is a reminder to families with kiddos going to school this year that you may need to call the school to reapply for free or reduced lunch programs.