Iowa schools look to donations to pay for some student meals

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill approved by the Iowa Legislature last week targets so-called “lunch shaming,” where students whose families owe money are singled out, given inferior meals or even have their food dumped in the garbage.

The challenge faced by schools is how to pay for meal services when families can’t or won’t replenish school meal accounts. Some still provide meals, while others turn to cheaper substitutes or allow a child to go without food altogether. Some schools receive donations to help pay debts.

Crystal FitzSimons of the Washington-based nonprofit Food Research & Action Center says, “kids who are hungry can’t learn.” She says Iowa’s legislation would help
children.

Iowa is following the lead of several states that have passed lunch shaming legislation.
The bill is awaiting Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature.

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