Local News

More Bend-La Pine Schools Offer Free Meals

BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools will serve free breakfast and lunch to all students at more than 20 schools, starting Tuesday, January 2nd.

"12 schools who previously were not eligible, now will be eligible. So,12 schools plus 10 existing schools. Essentially, we’ll have two thirds of the schools in the district that meet this eligibility,” The district’s Communications Director Scott Maben tells KBND News a lowered qualifying threshold means a significant rise in the number of eligible students, “We think over 6,000 additional students now will qualify for free meals in our district.”

The change will take effect immediately. “The state of Oregon petitioned the US Department of Agriculture to make sure that schools in Oregon could qualify for this new rule in the middle of the school year,” Maben says.

“This is a monumental change for thousands of Bend-La Pine families,” said Assistant Director of Nutrition Services Garra Schluter. “What this means to a family’s household budget is truly significant, and we are always proud to offer so many healthy, scratch-made options to our students at no cost.”

10 schools already offered free meals: Bear Creek Elementary, Ensworth Elementary, La Pine Elementary, Rosland Elementary, Three Rivers Elementary, Three Rivers Middle, La Pine Middle, Pilot Butte Middle, La Pine High and Bend Tech Academy.

Buckingham, Elk Meadow, Juniper, Lava Ridge, Ponderosa, and R.E. Jewell Elementaries, Westside Village Magnet, High Desert Middle, Caldera and Mountain View High, and Realms Schools are now included.

Maben says nothing extra is required of students, "They don't have to sign up. They don't have to apply. The eligibility is automatically extended to all families in those schools,” adding that it is a big help for the family budget, “If a student eats breakfast and lunch every day through the school year, that would be a savings of up to $1,200 per family.”

Families at schools not included should check if their student is now eligible at the BLS website.

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