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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • Free, reduced-price lunches assist nearly half of Chillicothe students

  • The National School Lunch Act was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946. This act paved the way for the National School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Program, which currently serves more than 30 million students nationwide.
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  • The National School Lunch Act was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman in 1946. This act paved the way for the National School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Program, which currently serves more than 30 million students nationwide.
    In the Chillicothe R-2 School District, 48.6 percent of the student body received either free or reduced-price meals in 2013. That equated to roughly 890 students. Assistant Superintendent Jim Ruse said those numbers are down slightly from 2012 when 49.2 percent of the student body received meal assistance. Ruse said there was speculation the number of students applying for meal assistance would increase in 2014, but those numbers are hard to predict because of changes in the program’s guidelines and the changes in the district’s enrollment from year to year.
    The full price for breakfast at each of the district’s elementary schools is 90 cents, while lunch costs $1.65. Breakfast at the middle school and high school is $1.15 while lunch costs $1.85. Reduced-price breakfast costs 30 cents, while reduced-price lunch costs 40 cents. Eligibility for the National School Lunch/School Breakfast Program depends on family size and household income. The threshold to receive free meals is 130 percent above the federal poverty line. The threshold to receive reduced-price meals is 185 percent above the federal poverty line.
    For free meals, this equates to $14,937 annually for a family of one; $20,163 for a family of two; $25,389 for a family of three; $30,615 for a family of four; $35,841 for a family of five; $41,067 for a family of six; $46,293 for a family of seven; and $51,519 for a family of eight. For families larger than eight, $5,226 is added per additional person.
    For reduced-price meals, a family size of one must have a household income of less than $21,257 annually; $28,694 for a family of two; $36,131 for a family of three; $43,568 for a family of four; $51,005 for a family of five; $58,442 for a family of six; $65,879 for a family of seven; and $73,316 for a family of eight. For families larger than eight, $7,437 is added per additional person.
    All children in households receiving food stamps, temporary assistance or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations can get free meals regardless of income. Foster children under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are also eligible for free meals. Those who many have been eligible due to household income in previous years will need to complete an application every school year due to changes in federal eligibility guidelines.
    To qualify for the National School Lunch Program/School Breakfast Program, parents or guardians may obtain an application at the Administration office and return the completed forms to Pat Thompson at Chillicothe High School.

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