With schools getting back into session, so are the school kitchens. This year things are different due to Covid-19 regarding the school lunch programs.

In years past both free school lunch and even reduced school lunch was based on family income. However, now thanks in part to covid-19 and federal relief efforts, all students qualify for free school breakfast and lunches through 2023.

The issue is schools still need to have free lunch forms returned to the schools so the schools can obtain the funds needed to provide the meals and also qualify for additional grants according to a report by centralmaine.com

One school in Winthrop has tried everything they can think of to get parents to return these forms with little participation. Of over 650 letters mailed to homes with stamped returned envelopes, less than 100 have found their way back to the school.

School realize that the forms can be cumbersome to fill out and do request some personal information however, they are required for the schools to provide the free meals which will allow them to secure the funding they need.

In addition, the schools maintain that the lack of returned lunch forms hurt more than just the school kitchen, it also can effect such important items as Title I programs, before and after school care, special ed, and others if enrollment in the lunch program falls below 40%.

Even Gov. Janet Mills has made pleas to parents stressing the importance of returning these forms as ultimately it can effect tax payers of the local towns and cities to make up any short falls.

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