The federal government’s budget stalemate over border security is causing lunches to shrink at one eastern North Carolina school district.
Vance County Schools officials announced on Facebook late Tuesday that lunch menus “have been revised to a minimum level to conserve food and funding” starting Jan. 21. The county is about 50 miles northeast of Durham, along the Virginia state line.
Fresh produce, bottled juices and water, and even ice cream are among the items being nixed.
“The Vance County Schools Nutrition Program for students is self-supporting with federal funds providing meals,” says the post. “We hope that normal lunch menus can be resumed as soon as possible once the shutdown has ended.”
Students who once had choices of what to eat will now get the option of one entree, a piece of bread, two vegetables, one piece of fruit and milk, says the district’s post.
“No fresh produce will be included, except at elementary schools as part of the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program,” said the post. “This program will be decreased to two days each week.”
Critics of the move left more than 100 comments over night on the Vance School District’s Facebook page, including several who questioned why the N.C. Education Lottery wasn’t kicking in money to fill the gap.
“This is going to have a huge affect on a lot of kids, because for some of them that’s the only meal they will get. Very sad,” wrote Sheri Walters on the school district’s Facebook page.
“Don’t forget some of these kids’ parents aren’t getting a check because some of them work for the government,” wrote Jalisa J’Bree Reid on Facebook. “...Some of these kids are getting the bare minimum at home...”
The federal shutdown appears to be at an impasse, as President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats struggle to find middle ground over increased border security measures, including a wall along the porous Mexico border.
The National School Lunch Program is a “federally assisted meal program in public and private schools,” according to the U.S Department of Agriculture’s web site.
“It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day,” says the site.