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Free Lunches Will Continue For Some Ohio K-12 Students

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The USDA has extended the summer food service program to allow schools that have been providing meals to low-income kids through the summer to continue to do so through the end of the calendar year. But not all kids getting school meals will benefit.

Lisa Hamler Fugitt, the executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, says kids who got free meals through schools this summer can continue to do that, whether in class or doing remote learning because the USDA is allowing the continuation of that program during the fall. But in schools where students must apply for free or reduced priced food programs, students will continue to have to pay for their meals if they are deemed able to do so. 

“This provides some flexibility but it doesn’t mean there is a blanket, free meals for all children," Hamler Fugitt says.

Hamler Fugitt says she has been pushing to get the federal government to continue to provide the meals through the end of this school year but as it stands now, the program will end December 31. She says her organization would ultimately like to have a school lunch program that provides lunches universally to all students.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.