Free, reduced student lunches in jeopardy over government shutdown


The government shutdown isn’t just impacting federal workers and soon it could trickle down to local programs that depend on federal funds.

One of them is a program for students who rely on free and reduced meals.

Heather Fiveash says her son qualifies for free and reduced lunches.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture funds that program and, as of now, funding is only secured through March per a tweet from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“It’s going to affect the families of these kids. It’d be nice if we didn’t have to worry about him not getting breakfast and lunch at school,” Fiveash said.

According to the USDA, more than 30.4 million children rely on free and reduced meals. Under the program, students from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals.

“Kids come first and then parents,” Fiveash said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do with your kids. Your kids are more important.”

Officials urge any federal employees with students to apply for free and reduced lunch.

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