Free or reduced school meals are an option for local families

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The new school year will begin at MFL MarMac on Wednesday, Aug. 23, bringing with it new schedules, new teachers and new supplies. But for some parents, it also brings a sense of worry, as they consider whether they’ll be able to afford their child’s school meals.

Fortunately, through the district’s participation in the National School Lunch Program, eligible families who are unable to pay the full price of meals can sign up for free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches.

MFL MarMac’s Food Service Director, Pat Echard, said the district sends out applications before the start of each school year. The application lays out household size and income guidelines the family must meet in order to qualify. It can still be confusing, though, she noted.

“Sometimes, the best way is to fill it out and come in to the school,” Echard explained. “I can run it through a program and it tells us if you qualify.”

Echard said the biggest hurdle families often have to overcome, however, is that it’s OK to accept help.

“People can be embarrassed,” she said. “But I stress that it’s totally confidential. Nobody knows but me.”

Although most families sign up for free or reduced lunches at the start of the school year, Echard said they can do so any time.

“You can sign up any time during the year if your situation changes,” she said. “Contact the office and we’ll make sure you get an application.”

For an application or more information, please contact Echard at (563) 539-4795

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