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Contrary to popular belief, a vast percentage of students who struggle with hunger are not the extremely poor, but those who do not benefit from and do not qualify for free or reduced school meals, where the earnings of a parent or both parents of a student may exceed program eligibility caps, but are not sufficient, in light of expenditures, to avail adequate funds for food.

Student Meal Credit & Waivers Availability at All Schools

All students at all schools who do not qualify for free or reduced meals should be extended meal credit, whether they’d utilize it or not, in the event that they do not have or do not bring meals to school and are unable to pay for school meals, and, accordingly, parents/guardians of students who do not qualify for free or reduced meals should be availed the privilege of retroactively paying for meals disbursed to students once they are capable of doing so.

Notices of outstanding balances on student accounts could be mailed to parents or guardians or disbursed to students each Friday or the last Friday of each month, preferably during lunch checkout, and/or parents or guardians would, ideally, be capable of accessing and paying student account balances online via school web/records portals.

Waivers on student accounts should be granted under extenuating circumstances, i. e. a loss or reduction in income, or for other recognizable reasons, so as to allow for registration, release of report cards, and access to other privileges that would ordinarily be restricted due to any outstanding balance.

Conclusion

No students should be subject to hunger, health, and academic woes because their parents’ earnings disqualifies them for free or reduced meals, but are insufficient as to adequately afford the purchase of school and often home meals after expenditures. Each school should assume the responsibility, with parents, of assuring that all students are equipped with every resource for proper physical and emotional development and academic success.

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