FWCS Giving Free Lunches Next School Year

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 06/11 2014 01:51PM

Updated 06/11 2014 06:55PM

School lunches are going to be free next school year for everyone in elementary and middle school through Fort Wayne Community Schools.

"Some kids didn't really get any lunch because they didn't have enough money and they didn't get free lunches."

That's 6th grader Alecta McQuade.  She says students that couldn't afford lunch would usually just get string cheese and crackers.

"That's kind of mean so when they weren't looking, some of my friends that didn't have any lunch, I would give them half of my lunch."

Krista Stockman with Fort Wayne Community Schools says about 70% of families qualified for free or reduced lunches.

"Sort of a paperwork nightmare at some of those schools.  You know, where we have all these kids on free or reduced meals.  The families have to fill out of that paperwork but then we do have that small portion that has to pay."

Not everyone took advantage of it.

"I mean, we do know that there are families that don't fill out the paperwork, they don't want to, it's too time consuming, it's complicated, or maybe they're embarrassed by it."

Alecta was on free lunches last year, and her mom Michelle is glad that it will now include all students.

"It's nice to have everybody the same.  She mentioned once that she got picked on sometimes."

Stockman says that free lunches for all elementary and middle school students will alleviate a lot of problems.

"If students are not eating, they can't focus on academics.  Their tummies are hungry, their heads hurt, it's really hard to learn."

Stockman says they were eligible to participate in this program offered by the US Department of Agriculture, because 40% of students were already qualified through other government assistance programs.  FWCS will incur some of the costs.

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