For several years, the non-profit group, Louisiana Lunch Money, has been helping students pay for meals, instead of going hungry throughout the day. While some schools will provide graham crackers to those without meal money, some don’t provide anything at all. This week, the Lafayette Parish School Board has announced meal prices will be going up, which could add more to the problem.
“I think if there’s a will, there’s a way,” said Cerissa Couvillion, the founder of Louisiana Lunch Money.
That’s been behind the success of the organization that feeds students who don’t have a meal or can’t afford one. The LPSB announced school lunch prices will be going up in the 2014-2015 school year due to new nutrition regulations.
“(It started) several years ago and that included items that increased our fresh produce and other things such as whole grains, which is very costly,” said Renee Sherville, Director of Child Nutrition Services for the Lafayette Parish School System.
The cost will be going up a quarter and while that doesn’t sound like much, Couvillion says it can make all the difference. She says it’s especially hard on elementary children.
“Absolutely, I mean, you have children that are on reduced-price lunches, it’s only 30 cents and they might fall short,” said Couvillion.
But, she says there is hope with Community Eligibility, a federal program through the Food Research and Action Center that allows any school with 40% of their students on free or reduced meals to be eligible for universal breakfast and lunch. But she says it can’t be done without public involvement.
“I’m hoping we can grow and get larger sponsors and grants to encourage school systems to go ahead and move in this direction to universal meals,” said Couvillion.