connecticut schools

Some Conn. Schools to Lose Free School Breakfast and Lunch on June 30

A federal program that made school meals free for all students is set to end this month, impacting some schools around the state.

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During the pandemic, students were fed for free. That's thanks to nutrition waivers from the USDA that allowed children across the country to receive breakfast and lunch at no cost. 

But this pandemic-era initiative will expire on June 30.

"So, everything will go back to pre-COVID regulations. Children will have to apply for free and reduced lunch," said Erica Murphy, president of the Food Nutrition Association of Connecticut.

But schools that are CEP-Eligible, meaning schools that meet the "Community Eligibility Provision," won't see changes because most of the student population relies on these meal benefits.

"Naugatuck is a CEP school so throughout the entire district, students will continue to receive free-breakfast and free lunch," Murphy said.

Cheshire is a district where these waivers will end since most families were used to paying for school meals before the pandemic. But Superintendent Dr. Jeff Solan noticed a trend over the past two years.

"The participation rate when our food services have been free and available to all students has significantly increased, which tells me there is a need and demand in our community," Solan said.

Students at Region 10 schools and those in Avon, Canton and Litchfield schools will also be affected. 

"We worry about families that fit into the "reduced" category. They may just miss out on qualifying for free meals, so this has been a great help for them this year. So those are the families I worry about that, they may struggle," said Maggie Dreher, director of nutrition services for Region 10.

Now it's up to families to fill out free and reduced applications to see if they qualify in the fall. But help is out there this summer.

"So, families can go to and they can find the closest summer meal site near them. It will show what kinds of meals are served and what time and where they're located," said Katie Pachkovski, meal programs manager at End Hunger CT.

These sites are open to those 18 and younger, but with the waivers ending, students will have to eat these meals on site and no longer take them home.

"We know that can be difficult for families, but we're happy to talk about the positives in that. It's going to be a great community spot to come and hang out with their friends to come and eat a warm meal on a daily basis," Pachkovski said.

The school districts we spoke to that will lose these waivers aren't making changes to their school meal programs as of yet.

Parents are urged to fill out an application as soon as possible so they can be considered for free and reduced lunch.

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