No such thing as a free lunch: Congress votes NO on USDA’s free breakfast, lunch program

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Brooke Young

For the entirety of the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, Converse County School District #2 (CCSD2)  families have benefited from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Free Breakfast and Lunch Program, one of the many federally funded programs that went into effect at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This program, which provided two free meals per student per day, has been eliminated, forcing the school district to re-establish meal prices and policies. 
The first Covid-19 aid package, which was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump, provided the USDA the authority to waive an abundance of regulations, allowing schools to serve free meals to all students, regardless of income. That authority expired June 30 given Congress’s decision to eliminate this program’s funding.
In spite of this unpleasant news, CCSD2 is dedicated to maintaining low costs to aid families impacted by this program’s eradication. 
Nutrition Services Director Monty Gilbreath said that all breakfast and lunch prices will remain the same as they were pre-pandemic.
“Price wise, you’re not going to find anyone who will be able to compete with our prices,” Gilbreath said. “It’s a healthy and nutritious meal, and our hot lunch program prides itself in making things from scratch.” 
Beginning Aug. 22, all elementary schools within the district will offer breakfast for $1.60/meal and lunch for $2.60/meal. The Glenrock Junior High will provide breakfast to students for $1.60/meal and lunches for $2.85/meal. However, qualifying households are strongly encouraged to apply for the free and reduced lunch program online via or in person at the business office located at 120 Boxelder Trail. This step is vitally important, as the school district’s funding is dependent  on the number of families who qualify for free or reduced meals within the district. 
The school district is delighted to be able to continue offering a variety of well-balanced and made-from-scratch meals available to students of all ages, according to Gilbreath, although he noted that the occasional serving of some processed foods, such as chicken nuggets, is inevitable.
“Kids like it,” he said. “But, if we can have those menu items that are made from scratch, we’ll do it. And we do.”
All of the made-from-scratch meals containing beef or pork are cooked using meat donated to the school from several ranches within the community through the Farm to School program, which is set to continue, allowing the school district to uphold their low meal prices.
“That’s the type of pride and ownership our staff has in this program,” Gilbreath said. 
Converse County is proudly the largest donator of Farm to School beef and pork in the state of Wyoming, he noted.
As always, parents are still welcome to pack their child a meal from home this coming school year. Lunch menus will be accessible via the district web page.
For more information regarding the USDA Free Breakfast and Lunch Program elimination or to see if you qualify for the free and reduced lunch program, visit


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

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