More Students Eating School Lunches

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The goal was two-fold — providing a healthy lunch to all students and helping parents financially.

It looks, at this point, as though both of those goals are being meet at Trimble Local Schools with the implementation of the free lunch program for all students. This is in addition to the free breakfast program which had been in place for some time in the district.

With meals being served for free, there has been an increase in the number of students eating lunch and breakfast each day.

“The lunch counts have been wonderful,” said Rushing noting the increases seen over the first few weeks of the school year.

During the month of August (first 13 days of the school year), the district saw an increase of 1,306 lunches served over the same time period from last year. That is an increase of approximately 100 additional lunches served each day.

“We are working to get kids eating,” said Food Services Supervisor Kathy Rushing of providing healthy, hot lunches each day.

Students still have the option to purchase extra lunch items each day, but must do so using money in their account. Charging of items is not permitted since all students can receive their main meal for free.

When applying for the program over the summer, Rushing talked about the struggle of some parents to pay for the meals each day.

“Our goal is to help families. They are our top priority,” said Rushing. “The community recently showed their support to Trimble by passing the tax levy, this is one way we can show them our appreciation.”

The change also allows more time for Rushing and other members of the kitchen staff to focus on the meals instead of paperwork.

In past years, Rushing stated she had spent a great deal of time, especially in the first months of the school year reviewing free and reduced lunch forms. That is no longer the case as students are not required to complete these forms. Rushing said she is now working to “fine tune” the district’s menus working within the healthy lunch guidelines.

Both Trimble and Federal Hocking school district were approved to provide free lunch to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

The program allows for districts with a certain percentage of students considered “identified” to provide free lunch to the entire district.

At Trimble Local more than 58 percent of students are considered identified, placing the district well above the 40 percent needed to qualify for the program.