by Christa Lollis
EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Gas prices aren't the only thing that's been on the rise. School lunches have seen an increase too.
That's what districts say the free and reduced lunch program is for. "We don't want a parents inability to pay to keep that child from eating a meal here at school," Julie Wood, Food Service Director at Hudson ISD explained.
The problem is not everyone eligible even applies. In Nacogdoches the number of families below poverty level doesn't equal the number of students enrolled in the free or reduced program. The districts try to get the word out by sending a flyer home so parents know their options.
With this program it means your kids can still fill up their lunch tray but it actually saves you some money. It will only cost three dollars and fifty cents a week for students in Hudson. Wood says, "That same meal for a student that pays full price, breakfast and lunch, for a week, is 16 dollars and 25 cents so the parents see a savings per week of 12 dollars and 75 cents."
One major misconception is that parents think they make too much money to qualify but that isn't always the case. Another is that some families don't want to be looked at differently. Vanessa Hooper with Nacogdoches ISD says, "We actually can get in trouble from the Texas Department of Agriculture by overtly identifying kids as being free or reduced so it's confidential. There information that we get is only seen by a few people in our office."
And getting past the misconceptions could mean hundreds of dollars East Texans save each school year.