USDA issues free lunches to Hoosiers

On August 31, the USDA issued an emergency waiver plan, providing Gibson Southern students with one free regular lunch and breakfast every day. Any student who wants to receive extras will have to pay the difference from their own account. The waiver includes all students, regardless of whether or not they qualify for free or reduced lunch. The plan went into effect on September 15.
Curbside pick-up is available for the students while attending school virtually. Virtual learning day meals can be picked up curbside on the south side between 10:45 AM and 12:15 PM at door 20. If a student would like to be added to the list for curbside pick-up, they need to be sure to email Emily Schmitt by 8:30 in the morning of the pickup date.
The goal of eliminating the cost of lunch and breakfast was to bring relief to the students and families who are struggling financially.
“The free lunches being provided are helping parents to know that their children can be properly fed while they are struggling to get back to work during the COVID pandemic,” senior Dylan Anderson said.
With the unemployment numbers rising, many more families have been struggling to afford their basic needs, including school lunches.
“The new system makes it easier for them to afford lunch,” sophomore Crystal Lance said.
Along with students and their families, the Gibson Southern cafeteria staff has also undergone some changes. With Haubstadt Community School participating in the free lunch program, they were in desperate need of extra staff. They turned to the high school for assistance.
“We have sent some of our ladies to other schools to help them when they needed it,” head cafeteria lady Brenda Sands said.
Throughout all of the unprecedented changes, Sands has tried to remain positive during the transition into the new policy. She appreciates the positive effects of the waiver program and the new lunch system that was put into place due to COVID.
“We don’t have big lines, and the students get enough time to eat,” Sands said. “I would like to keep this for sure.”
It is unknown how long this program will remain in effect due to the fact that it is a USDA funded program.