Free meals to continue
There is such a thing as a free lunch after all. Students across the state won’t need to worry about paying for meals in the 2021-22 school year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which paid for school breakfasts and lunches last year as a part of COVID-19 relief, announced April 19 that meals would remain free country-wide for any students between 1 and 18 — with no changes to the meals themselves.
According to Marion-Florence meal director Kristi Mercer, between 330 to 360 of the school’s 500 students took advantage of free meals last year. USDA paid schools roughly $3 per meal each day to cover the costs of a food service management company contracted with the school.
For parents of a Marion teenager eating both breakfast and lunch at school each day, savings could total as much as $827.70 a year.