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      High percentage of students rely on Hannibal school program for lunch

      On a monthly basis, it provides between 55 to 60 percent of student in Hannibal Public Schools with meals

      The Hannibal Public School District is getting ready to start up one of its much needed program for students.

      The district's free and reduced lunch program provides meals to hundreds of students during the academic day.

      "It's very difficult to learn when you're hungry, Rich Stilley, business manager for Hannibal Public Schools, said. "Typically, on a monthly basis, it would average between 55 to 60 percent of our students receive some sort of service for free or reduced."

      Now, the Hannibal Public School system is looking at the possibility of expanding its service to help feed more students.

      "The situation is just an opportunity to maybe improve a little bit on what we do. And to maybe touch and assist more families," Stilley said.

      Hannibal Public Schools has until August 31 to submit an application to the state to make any changes to the program.

      "We are about making sure that students learn they have a safe environment and to be able to facilitate both of those," Stilley said.

      Right now, the district is taking applications for its free and reduced program and everything is business as usual.

      No plans or a breakdown of the cost to expand the program have made it onto paper just yet. But Stilley said students' well-being is the district's number-one priority.

      "Feeding them and keeping them well fed and healthy is essential, Stilley said.

      Hannibal Public Schools will send out applications for this program during the first week of the school year.