Lunch debt is a problem that affects schools across the nation and Prior Lake/Savage schools are no exception. For students in need of assistance, some of our students qualify for free and reduced price lunch but many students remain unable to apply or qualify. One bad month can plunge a family into food insecurity. Layoffs at work, unexpected car maintenance, or an illness can force a family to choose between buying food and paying bills. Families can apply for free and reduced price lunch but the application process can take weeks and in the meantime, school lunch debt accumulates.
In ISD 719, the schools continue to provide lunch to all children who come through the lines; however these lunches still need to be charged to the students’ accounts, which continue to accumulate for the families who can’t afford to pay. Some families, feeling this burden, have their children skip eating lunch or have their child stay in the classroom to avoid accumulating additional debt. Children who miss lunch have trouble concentrating on their learning as they think about being hungry and are impacted by the social stigma of being unable to eat with their friends.
Bridging the Gap for ISD 719 aims to use funds raised to clear lunch debt for all families across the Prior Lake/Savage school district who have an outstanding balance and no foreseeable way to cover this expense. As of March 1, 2019, the balance of all overdue lunch accounts across the district was $14,979.68 and that debt attributed to 928 affected students across the school district.
Will you partner with us to help meet this need so our students can move past this issue and instead focus on becoming the best learner they can be?