Free school lunches for students set to expire this month

Pandemic expansion of free school lunches set to expire this month.
Pandemic expansion of free school lunches set to expire this month.((KKCO/KJCT))
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 7:59 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Students across Colorado accessed free meals at school for the last two years after congress stopped requiring applications during the pandemic.

Well, that pandemic expansion of free school lunches is set to expire this month which could make children go hungry.

“Serving about 45 percent of the student enrollment up to 60 percent,” said the Director of Nutrition, Dan Sharp. “So, we increased close to 20 percent.”

Mesa County Valley School District 51 saw a surge of children eating school lunches.

“Roughly 2,000 families a day that was benefiting from receiving that help,” added Sharp.

In March of 2020, congress okayed spending $11 billion to ensure kids could eat during the pandemic. Another problem is school labor shortages, a supply chain crisis, and a rise in grocery prices.

“A big negative impact for a lot of our households and families that are struggling here in Mesa County,” described Sharp.

The children in Mesa County are already feeling the impact. That’s because Fruita’s cut off from free summer meals. It doesn’t meet financial guidelines, but Sharp knows parts of town need help.

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