Nearly one million kids may lose free school meals - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Nearly one million kids may lose free school meals

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(WSIL) -- Right now, if a family receives SNAP, the children are automatically enrolled in a federal program that gives them free breakfast and lunch at school. 

But, a new proposal from the Trump Administration would raise the requirement for food stamps to fix a so-called "loophole" that has expanded SNAP benefits to include people who don't need them.

It would also force parents to apply for the free or reduced lunches. Right now, students are automatically enrolled for those benefits.

Superintendent Joshua Stafford says about half of the students at Vienna High School could lose their free school meals under the proposed changes to SNAP benefits. 

Stafford explains, "About half of those students will likely go from paying nothing to paying 40 cents to school lunch and 30 cents for school breakfast so that's about half."

Charlotte Dixon knows the kitchen at the Vienna High School like the back of her hand. This is her 18th year making thousands of meals for students.

Dixon says, "I've had kids come through..Oh this looks so good I've been starving. I smelled this food all day. I can't wait to eat. "

But, Dixon says she's afraid the possible federal change will force kids who now get free or reduced meals to go hungry.

She adds,"I hate to see a kid come through this school and not be afford to eat. I don't ever want to see that."

Stafford says no matter what happens with the proposal, his schools will not let their students go hungry. 

He explains, "The bottom line here is regardless of what the federal government does, regardless of what the state government does, we're here to take care of kids and families."

Stafford says if the change does happen; you should contact your child's school to see if they are still eligible for free or reduced meals.

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