LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Since the pandemic began, free school lunches have been offered to students across the country. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is working to ensure that these programs continue.

4 in 10 children live in households that have struggled to meet their expenses since the pandemic began, which means they run the risk of missing out on the nutrition they need to succeed in school. Reginald Ross, national president of the SNA, said the pandemic had highlighted the need to provide healthy and nutritious meals to all students.

“Eventually, USDA gave us the ability to feed all students. As of early August, we have been able to feed all students without stigma, without worrying about whether or not their family completed the free and discounted application,” said Ross.

He explained that this is important for students to function and learn in the school.

“We actually studied the results of breakfast and studied the students throughout their lives. It turned out that students who had breakfast were better academically prepared, had fewer health problems, and had to attend school nurses … and were throughout their lives they are more successful, “said Ross.

They have already given an example of what they think is necessary, Ross explained. Now it’s a matter of getting approval from the decision-makers to continue these free school lunches for students.

“We want them to realize how important it is and to remove the stigma for students as there is a stigma attached to being free or reduced in many situations where students walk the cafeteria lines or not that would be eliminated, “said Ross.

Ross said he knew the importance of having nutritious and healthy meals for students. One thing he noticed after working in the cafeteria is that most children get their nourishment from the meals they get at school, which is why continuing with this program is so important.