School just started in Sioux Falls today. Thanks to an extension of the USDA free meals program, lunches and breakfast are free to all students in the district.

There are some conditions to it, but they really only apply to those who are bringing a sack lunch from home or for older kids who want to purchase other items a la carte.

According to Child Nutrition Services, all students can get a free lunch or breakfast every day. However, if they are bringing a lunch from home, and want to buy milk, that would cost 40 cents. However, if they take one fruit and one vegetable with the milk, they can have all three for free. That's to keep the program following the federal guidelines.

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If that sounds a little silly, that is because it is, after all, a government program. Logical parameters are not necessary for such endeavors. But, it is a workaround for those who are also in need of the free milk when they bring their lunch. It's also a workaround that will result in a lot of fruits and vegetables thrown in the trash because kids will be forced to take those things in order to get the one thing they actually need.

Middle school and high school students are also getting free lunch. However, if they want to buy any of the a la carte items at lunch, they will have to have money in their My School Bucks account.

Even when families are paying for school lunches, it is mind-boggling how much perfectly good food is thrown away. Having eaten at school with my kids on a number of occasions, I learned that a kid takes the school lunch, they must take everything on the menu that day, because federal guideline government program logic dictates it.

Jefferson High School


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