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After two years of free lunch, most students will have to start paying for their meals in school

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Posted at 4:26 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 11:03:06-04

For the first time in two years, most students will have to pay for their food in school.

“During the pandemic, or the peak of the pandemic, I should say, the federal government USDA supply and waivers is what they're called that supplied free lunches for everyone," says BSD7 Director of Support Services.

As a part of COVID relief for schools around Gallatin County, the federal government allowed all families to receive free meals without applying.

“Most of the schools went remote, and parents were doing pickup of meals so just logistically, it was hard to assign a meal to a student," says Selvig, "Bring it into an account when they were picking up meals.”

Not only are free lunches for all not available anymore, but due to inflation, school meal prices have increased. Elementary school prices are $3.00, middle school is $3.25, and high school is $3.50.

“We did do a price increase this year. Normally we do smaller increments of price raises for meals this year. We did go up more just because it has been two and a half years,” says Selvig.

Although the price increase is not ideal, there is a reason for it.

“We did do a significant employee rate or wage increase that we're trying to compensate for and exactly food is a lot more expensive,” says Selvig.

Selvig says that applying for free meals is easier than you think and you can go to if you believe you qualify for free or reduced lunch and haven't applied yet.