Free food available for all

Park reimbursed for meals given by federal government


Michael Hoikka

Staff member Asya Phillips hands out free lunches to students on Feb. 4. Every Wednesday from 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. students can drive up to the school for a free lunch, each student is allotted one lunch.

Talia Lissauer

Since the beginning of the school year, Park has offered federally funded lunches and meal packs for all students, according to assistant principal Jessica Busse. 

“The free meals are based on (the) federal government (who) said that because of the pandemic they want to help support students and families, so they are offering free meals,” Busse said. 

For struggling families, the free meals could help ease their financial burden. 

“A lot of families don’t have a steady source of income now that the pandemic started, and they won’t be able to provide for their kids. So with the school providing food, it lessens a lot of their burden,” freshman Daniel Lodermier said. 

The free meals are not based on need and all students are encouraged to take a free lunch or meal bag. 

Park gets reimbursed for the number of meals taken, which funds the lunch and nutrition staff, according to Busse.

“For each meal that we give out, that is reimbursed to us, and that funds are our kitchen staff. Our food and nutrition staff is paid through the reimbursement. So if we don’t have meals going out then we’re not getting reimbursed, which means that we don’t have the money to pay for our kitchen staff,” Busse said. 

Meals are available for pick up 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the main doors. 

Lunches are also available during lunch in the cafeteria. 

As students spend so much time in school, senior Grace Kanyinku said she believes schools should be providing lunches so students don’t have to worry about having enough money for food. 

“I don’t think kids should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from at a public school,” Kanyinku said. 

Lodermier said free lunches have helped him on days where he didn’t bring lunch to school and wishes more students would take advantage of the opportunity. 

“I think the students take it a lot for granted so (it doesn’t) have a lot of impact on them,” Lodermier said.