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The topic of “lunch shaming” has gathered lots of interest on social media. I’m particularly interested since I sit on my local school board. A quick recap: the feds fund lunches for families who qualify (just over half of our families with a total student population of just over 1,300 kids, K-12). The rest of the parents can send a lunch or put money into an account with the cafeteria service. An important thing to note is that kids in the lunch line can’t tell if someone else is getting a free meal or not.
Some other factors: if the free meal population reaches a high enough threshold, the school can provide all meals for free at federal expense. During the summer, the feds fund free meals for entire families. This is a program of which I suspect most people are completely unaware.