More students will qualify for free/reduced lunch in 2013-2014 - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

More students will qualify for free/reduced lunch in 2013-2014


This year's National School Lunch and School Breakfast Guidelines for free and reduced lunches will allow more students to be able to qualify for the program.

The qualifying income limits are higher this fall.

For example, a family of family seeking reduced meals can make up to $43,568/yr. That's up $925 from last year. And a family of four looking to qualify for free meals, you can now make up to $30,615/yr. That's up $650 from last year.

(Click here to see the full form for the free and reduced lunch program.)

It's something many parents in the Tri-States are happy to hear about.

A chicken sandwich may not seem like a lot, but it might be the only meal some of these kids will have all day.

"I struggle too as a parent and to have the meal on the table at night, but I make sure they have something," parent Wendy Smith said.

Smith brought her four kids to the free summer lunch program at Quincy's Washington Elementary. And with the new federal guidelines, more kids like hers will be able to eat breakfast and lunch during the school year for free, or close to it.

That's light at the end of the tunnel for many students in the Quincy Public School District, where 55 percent of kids qualify for free or reduced lunch.

"That's been a trend that we've seen the past few years, it's steadily increasing, not huge leaps but it is increasing every year. The economy obviously plays into that," QHS Assistant Principal Jody Steinke said.

Steinke expects more families to take part in the free or reduced lunch program, as paying becomes more private.

"I think the anonymous aspect of the ID card system has definitely helped increased those numbers as well. There is a stigma attached to it," Steinke said. "Kids don't want to announce they are free or reduced lunch, and this has taken some of that away."

For parents like Smith, who are on tight budgets, the new guidelines are welcome news.

"I appreciate the help, if it wasn't for lunch during the day, they probably wouldn't have it," Smith said.

The complete forms for the Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program for this school year should be sent to all students in their registration packets.

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