- Schools are worried about the future of children’s lunches if thegovernment shutdowncontinues.
- At least one school district is already planning to reduce children’s lunches, removing bottled water and juice and reducing the fruit and vegetables given to children in a bid to “conserve food and funding.”
- Other school districts say they are concerned about the future, with no clear end to the shutdown in sight.
- “It’s so frustrating and saddening,” the food director of a school district in Kansas said. “We just want to be able to feed kids.”
- The White House told INSIDER that it expected the shutdown to deduct 0.13 percentage points from quarterly economic growth for every week the government was closed.
Schools are worried about their ability to provide school lunches during the recordpartial government shutdown, which on Monday entered its 31st day, and at least one school district is already planning to reduce children’s lunches over fears of running out of food.
“Starting the week of January 21, minimum level means: one main dish, bread, two vegetables, one fruit and milk,” the Vance County school district, located in North Carolina north of Raleigh, saidlast week in a Facebook post.
This was necessary to “conserve food and funding” because of the shutdown, the district said.
“No fresh produce will be included, except at elementary schools as part of the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program,” it said, referring to thefederally assisted programthat gives free fresh fruit and vegetables to elementary schools. “This program will be decreased to two days each week.”
“No bottled drinks (water and juice) will be available after the current inventory in stock is used. No ice cream will be available,” the school system added.
“We hope that normal lunch menus can be resumed as soon as possible once the shutdown has ended.”
Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perduetweeted on Fridaythat “child nutrition programs are funded quarterly and are fully funded through the end of March.”
But with President Donald Trump claiming that the shutdown could go on for “months or even years,” school districts across the country say they are worried about feeding children into the future.
Here’s what they are saying:
- The federal Child Nutrition program “may be in danger if the government shutdown continues,” the Bethel School District in Washington statesaid.
- New York’s Newburgh Enlarged City school districtis prioritizingmaking sure that children get fruit and vegetables and said it might avoid purchasing other equipment to achieve this.
- Kansas’ Prairie Hills school district does not know how it will feed children if the shutdown continues past March, its food service director said.
- “I really don’t know how we’ll be able to continue feeding them without the meal reimbursements we get from the federal government, and I don’t know many other school food programs that would be able to either,” Brook Brubecktold Politico. “It’s so frustrating and saddening. We just want to be able to feed kids.”
- Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said the city was making plans to keep school cafeterias open if the shutdown continued, saying food for children was “the number one thing we’re going to try to address” during the shutdown.
- Tennessee’s Dyersburg City school districtsaidit would “keep feeding kids” and they would not “see a difference” because it had enough funds in its budget to make it to the end of the year if necessary.
- The Edenton-Chowan, Currituck County, and Camden school districts in North Carolinasaid they were not feeling any immediate impactfrom the shutdown and had not changed their menus for children, though Camden said it would watch the shutdown “closely.”
Nutrition programs funded by the Agriculture Department include the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.
29.7 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program, and 22 million were signed up for free or reduced-price meals as of December, according to federal statisticscited by Politico.
Schools are also telling parents that more and more children are qualifying for the programs as federal employees are furloughed and not receiving any paychecks.
A White House officialtold INSIDER last weekthat the administration expected the shutdown to deduct 0.13 percentage points from quarterly economic growth for every week that the government was closed.
This estimate for how much the shutdown is expected to damage the economy ismore than doublewhat the White House originally thought.
The White House’s original estimate did not take into account the knock-on effects of government contractors not getting paid and instead looked only at the lost productivity from workers directly employed by the federal government.
An ongoing impasse with Democrats, Secret Service agents struggle without pay, and national parks suffer: Other effects of the shutdown
- Trumptore into House Speaker Nancy Pelosiafter congressional Democrats rejected his latest proposal, in which he offered a deal combining temporary protections for the young immigrants known as “Dreamers” and other immigration proposals in exchange for funding for his border wall.
- Secret Service agents arestruggling with no pay, and some say the financial worries could affect performance on the job.
- National parks aresufferingas they face piles of trash and damaged trees.
- Cybersecurity experts say the shutdown is putting the US is atgreater risk of attack. A Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency representative told Business Insider the agency had ceased some “critical” protection operations.
- The White House says itcanceled the US delegation’s annual tripto the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “out of consideration” for the furloughed federal employees.
- AnINSIDER pollindicated that most Americans would rather use the $5 billion Trump is demanding for the wall on other things, like education or healthcare.