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So school lunch isn't free?!?

How West Ada School District is solving student meal debt
Posted at 2:56 AM, Nov 20, 2023

MERIDIAN, ID — West Ada School District has created a new campaign called Helping Hungry Minds to help solve the student meal debt crisis.

  • 30 million students in the US cannot afford to buy school lunch
  • There is over $260 million in student meal debt
  • West Ada School District has started the Helping Hungry Minds campaign
  • People can donate to help cover some of the debt

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

I'm your North Meridian neighborhood reporter, Alexander Huddleston.

Kids have a lot on their plate these days. Why worry about racking up debt in the school cafeteria?

I'm here at Ponderosa Elementary School where I talked with West Ada School District's nutrition supervisor about a new program to help pay off student meal debt.

"It is really important that we are able to feed them and fuel them, to learn better and grow better, and really thrive in our community," said Anne Brock.

That's the goal for all students in WASD. Fill their bellies, so their brains can grow. But, that pizza comes at a price.

A nationwide study done during the 2021-22 school year estimated 4.5 billion school lunches were served in the US.

Now that is a lot of money for schools to spend, especially if students can't cover the costs. That's why WASD started the Feeding Healthy Hungry Minds campaign.

Brock explained, "It is a campaign that West Ada School District Foundation is putting on to help alleviate some of that student meal debt throughout the year."

According to the education data initiative, more than 30 million students in the US can't afford school meals. This creates a total of $262 million in student lunch debt.

Now community members can step up to cover the cost of kid's lunches supporting the school district's mission.

"Our mission for school nutrition at West Ada is to feed students, staff, and patrons healthy and nutritious meals in a cost-effective manner," explained Brock.

You can give a little or give a lot. A single school lunch costs less than $3, but lunches for a whole school year can cost more than $500 per student.

We have a link to the district's campaign on our website Idaho News Six dot com.

Reporting at Ponderosa Elementary, I'm your North Meridian neighborhood reporter Alexander Huddleston, Idaho News 6.