Federal lunch program coming to an end next week

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 4:27 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - The end of a federal school lunch program means parents will have to once again start paying for their kid’s school lunches in the coming school year.

The program ends June 30 and it will shift back to an income-based eligibility requirement.

QPS food services director Jean Kinder said this will have a significant impact. She said 40% of students in the district who wouldn’t have qualified for a free lunch program will no longer be eligible.

She said it will be an adjustment for parents.

“Parents will just need to start putting money in their meals account again so that’ll be just a new adjustment, because me as a parent, I haven’t had to put money in my children’s the last two years and so I’ll have to make sure that I get that done this school year,” Kinder said.

Food pantries are preparing for a potential uptick in families utilizing their services.

Horizons executive director Sarah Stephens said more families use their services during the summer. She said whenever a federal program ends, more people do come and utilize their services.

“We could see numbers uptick in the food pantry, but more likely we would see numbers in our soup kitchen going up,” she said. “I know those people are actually being served a meal during the week and so we do have an on-site feeding center here so that’s where we’d probably anticipating the most uptick,” Stephens said.

She said they are keeping a good handle on the needs of the community and working to keep their pantry stocked for those that do need it

Kinder said the federal program ending won’t affect their summer meal programs, which are still free and available to anyone who needs them.

The QPS summer meals program runs form June to the end of July. It’s at Baldwin Elementary school from 11:00 to noon daily.

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