CRCSD To Begin Free Lunch Program

posted by WMT News/KCRG-TV9 - 

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG)-- More students in Cedar Rapids will get free breakfast and lunch at school.

It starts next week, and then all students at certain schools won't have to bring any lunch money or fill out any forms to get fed.

The 15 schools are scattered throughout the city. Schools can qualify if more than 40 percent of their students are at risk of going hungry, are in foster care, are homeless or receive food stamps.

The elementary schools are Cleveland, Garfield, Grant, Grant Wood, Harrison, Hoover, Johnson, Kenwood, Taylor, Van Buren and Wright.

And these middle schools: Roosevelt, McKinley and Wilson. Plus Metro High School.

Usually parents have to fill out forms to verify that their incomes are low enough to qualify for the subsidized meals. That meant some kids who qualified didn't get the free meals because their guardians didn't turn in the paperwork.

It also created a stigma, which could deter needy children from getting the nutrition they deserve. So now all students at those schools, even those from high income households, all eat breakfast and lunch for free.

TV9 spoke to local parents about their thoughts on this new policy.

"I think it's a great idea kids need to eat to learn," Margaret Grove said.

"Especially if it helps even playing the field. If it helps little ones feel less alienated is always good," Zach Hutchcroft said.

The District is able to provide free meals through a federal grant-- called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

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