Five Quincy schools to receive free lunches

Students at five Quincy schools will receive two free meals a day -- regardless of their family's income level.

Students at five Quincy schools will receive two free meals a day -- regardless of their family's income level.

The Quincy School District is taking advantage of a new option under the national school lunch program that allows entire buildings with high poverty levels to become eligible for free meals paid by the federal government.

Next year students at Adams, Berrian, Dewey and Washington elementary schools, along with the Early Childhood Center will receive breakfast and lunch at no charge, thanks to the "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010."

"You know the saying, there's no such thing as a free lunch, but in this case there is," Lonny Lemon, QPS superintendent said.

Until now, only low income students qualified for free meals.

"We get reimbursed more by the federal government for our free and reduced meals than we charge our parents. We've tried to keep that as low as we can. So actually, it's a benefit to the district. And all told, depending on how many are in those buildings next year, it could be thousands of dollars extra for the district," Lemon said.

Lemon says some of the schools have more than 95 percent poverty and free and reduced meals, so only small amounts of money are collected. This will take it out altogether.

Just don't forget to send money along with your students at the other schools. The current income-based meal policy will continue at Monroe, Ellington, and Madison elementary schools, along with Baldwin Intermediate School, Quincy Junior High School and Quincy High School.

"We may ave siblings in a different building, which could be confusing for parents at first, like, 'wait a minute. My student is at Berrian getting a free lunch, but my student at Baldwin, the junior high and the high school doesn't,'" Lemon said.

Lunch prices are going up at the rest of the schools by 25 cents, ranging from $1.75 to $2.25, "so, it's a caveat. It's not a free and reduced for an entire family. It's specific to those buildings," Lemon said.

"They can eat a hot breakfast or lunch everyday, so we really encourage parents especially to send their kids in for breakfast if they hadn't considered it before because it's free and we want to make sure we get those kids off to a good start in the morning," Jean Kinder with the QPS Food Service said.