Impact of students receiving free lunches

Riann Masi, Writer

Due to COVID-19, student lunches will all be free this school year thanks to the Department of Education. With approximately 1,170 students attending Fenton High, teachers had to take a lunch count for the first two weeks of school until FHS cafeteria staff got a feel for the quantity of lunches needed each day.

Research taken by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows that students receiving free lunches reduces food insecurity and obesity rates, as well as poor health.

“Having free lunch this year takes the stress away for some students,” senior Jessica Dunkel said. “The stress that can be taken away for students is whether or not they have money in their accounts, or whether they will have to fill out the forms for free and reduced lunch.”

According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), around 32 million students receive hot lunches in the United States. For low income students, this meal can provide more than half the calories they eat in a day.

“The constant layoffs and jobs lost due to COVID-19 affects many students at Fenton High and receiving a lunch and on top of that it being free seems small, but it’s helping the students family a lot,” senior Grayson Mackenzie said.

Fenton High does not pay for the lunches, allowing Fenton High to keep their budget for things besides free lunch, that would be up to the Federal Government.

“Because the Federal Government is funding the lunches/breakfast it’s not a burden on the budget,” Principal Laura Lemke said. “However you need more staff to prepare and serve extra meals. The salary cost for increased Food Service personnel does come out of the district budget. Labor shortages that every district is experiencing makes this move to free breakfast/lunch more challenging.”

Students have the opportunity to receive free breakfast and lunch for the entirety of this school year.