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No Money, No Food: The School Lunch Dilemma
HUBER HEIGHTS -- Huber Heights parent Jeremy McClintock was shocked to learn some schools have had to take students lunches after they've gone through the line. Because they have no money they had to give up their hot lunch for some cheese and crackers.
"I think they should feed the kids no matter what. They have to eat," he said. "If they don't have energy how can they learn?"
"The couple times it happened, we felt very bad for everybody it was very unfortunate circumstances," said Susan Gunnell Huber Heights superintendent.
For years students in Huber Heights would walk through the lunch line and even if they didn't have the money, they would still eat. The problem is that turned into a huge deficit for the schools.
"There were several thousands of dollars that at the end of each year the nutrition services department would just lose," said Gunnell.
That's despite several letters and phone calls to parents.
And Huber Heights is not alone. Troy City Schools had to adopt a similar policy years ago. If a child doesn't have money, they get a peanut butter sandwich and milk.
Sidney City Schools gives their elementary students a three meal grace period before they get a PB&J. However their middle and high school students get nothing if they don't remember to bring money and their parents don't communicate their situation. They say they've had students taking advantage of the free sandwiches to use their lunch money on other stuff.
In Kettering, you get fed no matter what, but the district usually ends up with about a thousand dollar deficit every year, often made up by generous teachers and principals paying from their own pockets.
"I guess I have a soft heart and I don't want to see children go without food. So if it's peanut butter and jelly that's better than nothing," said Tipp City parent Connie Masin.
"It all comes down to keeping in contact with the parents, making sure we're sending money for the kids to eat," said McClintock.
We called around to all the districts and the problem seems to be widespread. Some districts even have private donors helping out.
Superintendents do urge parents before you send your child to school with no money to apply for free and reduced lunch. They can do at any point in the year.
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