Covid Brought Free Lunch to School

Government Provides Free School Lunch and Breakfast for all Students


John McConnell

Conestoga students eat lunch in the cafeteria

Murray, NEB-COVID-19 has brought along a lot of things, and how unlikely it may seem, some of the outcomes are positive. An example of this is that we now have free school lunch and breakfast throughout the entire 2021-2022 school year. But why is it like this?

Due to COVID-19, school lunch and breakfast is now free for all students in public schools, regardless of their family’s financial situation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reimbursed schools and childcare centers for free meals to all students no matter their income. Due to the economic impact of the pandemic, an estimated 42 million people in the U.S. will experience food insecurity this year, reports food bank network Feeding America’s latest estimate in March 2021. This is a 20% increase from the 35 million people who did not always have food access in 2019. In addition, Feeding America approximates that 13 million children will experience hunger this year, increasing by 10 million from two years ago. We’re not only in an epidemic of COVID-19 but also one of hungry children. But with the Government’s decision to provide students with free school lunch and breakfast, families struggling to make ends meet can be assured that their children will get something to eat.

So how has this affected Conestoga? We spoke to Tammy Egley, who is a part of the Conestoga kitchen staff. Egley said that there has been a significant increase in the number of students eating lunch and breakfast at school. There has been an estimated 25% increase since the Government imposed free lunch. Egley believes this is a good thing and that it should always be like this so that no students have to go hungry in school. For some students the food they get at school is their only meal of the day, therefore, free school lunch is an important matter. One thing we all can agree on is that the free lunch and breakfast is not too bad, especially when it is the Conestoga kitchen staff making it.