Free lunch no more: Parents across North Texas prepare to pay as pandemic-era program ends

In one survey, the WFAA asked parents at home whether they felt financially prepared for the school year: 49% said yes, while 51% said no or somewhere in between.

CADDO MILLS, Texas — After the COVID-era exemption from the federal government ends, lunch is no longer free for all public school students.

“Last year was free, which was a huge blessing,” Caddo Mills’ mom, Courtney Sandoval, told WFAA.

Now that the program is over, Sandoval said she is now considering spending an additional $200 a month on school meals for her two children.

With inflation, Sandoval said, she is feeling the pinch.

And she and her husband earn too much to qualify for the lower-priced lunches, she told the WFAA.

“I’ve thought about getting another job. I really don’t want to, because I already feel like a mom with two kids and sports, and you know, working, already from burnout.” full,” she said.

Sandoval said she and her husband are financially fine, but would prefer to be more comfortable.

“And I know we’re not the only people who feel that way,” she said.

In one survey, the WFAA asked parents at home whether they felt financially prepared for the school year: 49% said yes, while 51% said no or somewhere in between.

At Denton ISD, Liz Raftre, Director of Child Nutrition, told the WFAA that children would never be turned away for a meal.

“I think there’s a perception that because we’re going back to paid meals that if students don’t have money they won’t be able to eat,” she said.

“And that’s not really the case at all. We won’t turn the students away. We’ll continue to feed the students,” she said.

He said that if the accounts of children come negative, then the district will fill its bill.

She often receives some money for this through private donations, she said.

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