Missouri bill aims to make school meals free

A Missouri bill looks to provide free meals to students.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 6:44 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Are too many Missouri students going hungry because they cannot afford a school lunch? It’s an issue the Missouri legislature is attempting to address in this session.

“I know that if we were able to offer them free meals, then it would benefit their parents all together.”

Chaffee Superintendent Shawn Nix said this legislation is needed

“We do have a high number of free reduced students throughout our district,” he said.

It’s an issue that many in the community are addressing at a local level.

Tiffany Voyles is the manager at Ross Fuel Center in Poplar Bluff. She came up with Operation Lunchbox and collected money to pay lunch debts at nearby schools.

“We realized that there was a need, so we put out donation jars and all of our customers could donate their extra change after their transactions,” she said.

Voyles said this issue is close to her heart. A 10-year-old girl from her hometown in Dent County only had the meals that were provided by the school.

And having this legislation set in stone would help the kids and the parents.

“That would change so many lives, not just for the kids but for the parents, as well,” she continued. “It would take a huge burden off of those that can’t afford it.”

“If we can know that we give them two good meals, five days a week and know that they’re fed, that’s what our schools are for,” she added.

The author of the bill is still working to determine how the free meals would be paid for.