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Getting meals to students during a pandemic

A federal waiver put on by the pandemic providing this assistance expires in December and that’s why Zalec said it’s important families apply for free and reduced meal benefits.
Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 4:03 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - With school back in session, schools across the country and here locally are finding ways to still make sure students who need it are getting their free or reduced priced meals. Especially in Green Bay, with the district starting the school year virtually.

Green Bay Area Public School District said it wants virtual learning to be as normal as possible.

“We don’t realize that this just doesn’t hinder our families who are low-income, this also hinders families who could be handicapped, it could hinder our families who do not have transportation,” said Lynette Zalec, Director of Food Service with the Green Bay Area Public School District.

It is because of that the district has a system with a group of volunteers delivering breakfast, lunch, and dinner to about 150 families currently on the list.

A federal waiver put on by the pandemic providing this assistance expires in December and that’s why Zalec said it’s important families apply for free and reduced meal benefits.

This is where you can go to apply.

“If this funding, of all free meals, if that happens to go away, this will assist families if they qualify for a free or reduced meal,” said Zalec.

On a national level Lauren Bauer, who studies public policy that affects children with the Brookings Institution, said it’s important the U.S and communities find ways to get food to students, just as Green Bay Area Public School District is.

“More children are skipping meals, and not having sufficient food, than we’ve ever recorded on record, right now - about one in five parents in the U.S say that their kids don’t have enough to eat and their families don’t have the resources to purchase more food,” said Lauren Bauer who is a Fellow in Economic Studies with the Brookings Institution.

Bauer said nationally, about 15% of eligible families are picking up prepared meals. Wisconsin Department of Health Services said it’s waiting on updates from the federal government about Pandemic EBT benefits once the waiver expires in December.

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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