About half of the students enrolled in a seven-week summer program in Nevada are not eligible for free lunches because their school is on the wrong side of the street.
The USDA reimburses summer programs based on census data of poverty lines. But in Nevada, the poverty line is drawn right in front of Central Elementary School. While many of the 235-students enrolled for the summer program are eligible for free lunches, the program will only be reimbursed for about half.
“Yes, right down the middle of the street,” Jean Kresse with the United Way of Story County confirmed. “So if we were on the other side of the street we could not have an open site, which means every child that comes through the program we would be reimbursed for the meal that is served.”
Program organizers considered serving the children lunch at a church across the street, but decided it would be too dangerous and time consuming to move all 235-children and their lunches.
“We really need to look at those rural communities like Nevada to see what options are available. And the fact that we’re doing more than just feed the children has to account for something,” Kresse said. “It shouldn’t be so hard.”
Organizers are hoping residents step up to cover the additional $16,000 it will cost to feed the children.