BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many families will see changes in school meals this fall. For two years, school breakfasts and lunches were free for all students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, that is changing.

Congress picked up the school meal bill because of the pandemic, but that expired back on June 30 of this year.

The food lines in the cafeteria are empty at Boardman High School. However, that will change soon. This year, there are some changes.

“There has been free lunches due to the USDA declaring basically a state of emergency during the pandemic. So it ended June 30, which it’s trying to get everybody back to normal,” said Natalie Winkle, food service supervisor for Boardman Local Schools.

Winkle says this is going to be quite the shift for many families. She highly encourages the kids still eat the school-provided lunches.

“Because it’s nutritionally balanced. The kids are going to get a healthy meal, a creative meal, something good for them to eat versus maybe a student packing their own sandwich every day, having the same sandwich,” Winkle said.

Winkle understands money can be tight for families to purchase lunch every day, especially with inflation. However, some families may qualify for some assistance, no matter the district.

“We encourage parents who feel like they’re still eligible for free lunches or reduced lunches to fill out the lunch application because they still can get free and reduced lunches but you have to be eligible for it now, fall into the income parameters,” Winkle said.

If your family qualifies for reduced lunches, it can cost 70 cents a day for your child to eat breakfast and lunch in the Boardman Local School District. Winkle says the district is trying to keep prices low.

“We’ve kept prices the same, and a lot of that is super tight budgeting,” she said.

Winkle encourages all families to apply for free and reduced lunches, even if they don’t think they qualify. A link to apply for Boardman Local Schools can be found on their website.

Contact your district if you have any questions.

Income and eligibility guidelines are published online.