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Students to eat free at 24 Winston-Salem/Forsyth Co. schools

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(School lunch stock photo)

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Students at 24 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will eat free next year, regardless of family income.

The schools, among the district’s poorest, will serve breakfast and lunch to all students for free starting in the fall under a new program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. 

The Community Eligibility Provision is an amendment to the National School Lunch program, designed to improve access to healthy meals for students in low-income schools. Students at the qualifying schools will be automatically enrolled in the free meal program and will not need to submit a paper application.

Lauren Richards, director of child nutrition for Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County Schools, said the program has many benefits.

It eliminates the stigma of receiving free meals, she said, and studies conducted at pilot sites in other parts of the country showed increased attendance and test scores.

“These meals are the only meals some of these kids get,” Richards said.

Amanda Mendenhall, district manager for Chartwells, the company the school district contracts with to provide school meals, said she expects the program to increase meal participation in the qualifying schools, especially during breakfast.

Right now, the district serves an average of 12,500 breakfasts a day, compared to an average of 27,500 lunches.

Much of that difference is because of a smaller window of time students have to get breakfast. Long lines can mean not all students get served.

Mendenhall said when schools don’t have to check the program status of each child coming through the line, it will speed up the process and allow more students to be served.

It will also allow some schools to serve breakfast in classrooms, Richards said. She said they expect the breakfast program to grow by as much as 25 percent in the first year.

There are also new changes coming to meal USDA meal requirements, increasing the amount of fruit to be served at breakfast and tightening nutritional standards for foods served for lunch and snacks.

The changes, which take effect in the fall, will require 1 cup of fruit to be served with school breakfast – doubling the previous year’s requirement of one half-cup of fruit.

Based on average breakfast crowd of 12,500 students, served over the course of the 180-day school year, that one change alone will increase program costs about $562,500.

New requirements also are coming to all snack foods and “a la carte” items.

Any food sold in schools must meet certain calorie, sodium, fat and sugar limits. Mendenhall said those changes will mean smaller portions for some popular items.

“It’s going to be a lot of education,” Mendenhall said. “(Students) are going to learn about portion control and (portion) size.”


  • Dan in NC

    Dear Forsyth County,

    You’re welcome

    Signed – Taxpayer

    PS – Where in the constitution did we authorize the USDA to take my money to buy everyone two meals?

    • UhmmUhmmUhmm

      To those who are whining about feeding “other people’s children”…………. SHUT THE HECK UP AND DEAL WITH IT!!!!!! Big Freaking Babies—–whaa whaa whaa. Are you seriously going to complain about helping take care of your own countrymen? Wooooooowww… Screw what the Constitution says and do what is right and do it from your heart so that when you stand before God on Judgment Day( respect to non-believers) he can say “Well done my child”… And that ONE good hearted act of helping to feed someone’s child may be the very thing to get you into the KINGDOM!!!!!!! I’m just saying.. If you don’t want to feed them because they have lazy parents or they are on welfare——welllllll remember that the children are not to blame for their parent’s!!!! Not all children are blessed to have parents like all of you ( selfish, no children having people on here) who have it all together and has never falling by the wayside..I pray that GOD keeps favor on you because if you had to get you struggle on—— Well I pray that GOD keeps His favor on you!!!!!!!

      • bella 07

        To UHMMUHMUHMMUHMMUHMMUHMMUHMMUHMMUHMM, I give plenty to help those that are less fortunate than I am.The people that make two or three times the money do not need to be getting free anything at other people’s expense.You sound like a real bright person.Your name says it all!!!

      • Apocalypse

        I take it your one of these low life scum bag parents who live off the government and get everything for free while us taxpayers work hard to support our own families. Go get a job to supoort all those kids and get off the Obama can train.

    • Curious

      What next? They are getting free or low cost health care, housing subsidies, WIC, welfare, free transportation to school, subsidized daycare, free education. Why don’t we just buy them all new houses and their parents brand new cars? Why stop at just food, shelter and medical care? Let’s send them all on vacations, all expenses paid to the resort of their choice. Why are parents allowing others to feed and clothe and house their children? Why are we doing it without protest? People have no self-respect anymore and zero desire to be responsible for their own children.

  • Gregg

    We use the term “free” liberally. Nothing is free!!. Translated, Us the tax payers are feeding the young people. The parent/s or guardian/s should be responsible for the cost. Oh I forgot, most of them are not working either and us the tax payers are feeding them too. Wow, welcome to nanny-state, “Obamaland”. Did it ever dawn on anybody that once you tip the scale where you have more people dependent on the government than you have working tax payers to foot the bill, your done!!. Gee, I wonder who they will vote for????

      • 2ndamendmentman

        Bella. He could have said it better. Gregg could have said you’re done instead of your done.
        I don’t know what my done thinks or is.
        Hopefully the kids that get a meal won’t be selfish brats like you people.

    • taxpayer

      You people kill me always talking about what your tax dollars should or shouldn’t pay for. Get over it and quit your whining! It’s happening and there’s nothing you can do about it. Not all low income people get or want there kids to get free lunch.

  • Jamie Divine

    I am glad that WE as Americans are trying to make sure all kids eat at school, regardless of income status. But, I do have a problem with the schools listed. I dont think that we should pick and choose which students get to take advantage of it because of the geographical location of these schools. I have a child who goes to Walkertown Elementary. Her teacher asked the class a question. “If you had $100 what would you buy?” This was around Christmas, and she shared the answers with the parents swho could attend the party in class. Almost half of the class said they would buy food for home. These are first graders who understand they dont have enough to eat and want to help mommy and daddy. Just because WES is in the county and not city limits does NOT mean that we dont have kids who can benefit from this too. It is an outrage to exclude certain schools because they are in better locations. Last time I checked it was Winston Salem, Forsyth county schools, not just Winston Salem schools.

    Jamie Walkertown, NC

    • Curious

      How about we stop making poverty such a noble thing and make parents go to work and support their own kids? I’ve been in poverty, and it’s not noble, but it is comfortable if you let taxpayers pay for your needs and wants. Stop taking responsibilities from the parents and make them provide for their own kids.

  • FaithC

    “Students at 24 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will eat free next year, regardless of family income.”
    Note to hard working middle class American – Even thought you may not be able to feed your own family as well as you would like, you can be glad that the money you work so hard for is going to feed kids even if their parents can afford it.

  • Benny

    We pay for this while their pathetic parents sit at home and live off the government. Just another free handout for low income families who have no motivation to go find a job or stay off drugs and alcohol. Last time I went to pick up a little brother for my mentoring in Big Brother/Big Sister, I walked into the house and saw beer bottles, cigarette packs, and playing cards scattered all over the entire downstairs. Goes to show you they surely have enough money to buy their booze and cigs, but cant afford to put food in their children’s mouth. I say drug test all these government free loaders and if you fail, you no longer get jack squat, but your child will be fed at school and we will pay for their after school care to be sure they are being treated and fed properly instead of being given a piece of bread for lunch while you enjoy colt 45 40oz. malt liquor and a pack of marlboro’s.

    • FaithC

      I could not agree with you more. Drug test them all. If you drink, smoke or do drugs, nothing for you. Photo IDs for food stamps and if you are caught selling them all your benefits stop. Yes we will feed your kids, they are innocents in all this, but you freeloading, welfare queens get nothing. Not a dime. If you are already on welfare and you pop out another kid, no more money. Also if you do not know or are unwilling to say who the father is…not a dime It is about time the culture of government support for those who do nothing ends.

  • Guest

    Taxpayers are paying to feed inmates, why not feed our children! Maybe inmates should have to pay for their food and then we could afford for all kids to eat free.

    • Holly Henderson

      Valid point, but the difference is this – There are also new changes coming to meal USDA meal requirements, increasing the amount of fruit to be served at breakfast and tightening nutritional standards for foods served for lunch and snacks. The inmates do not deserve to be fed much at all and again, I do agree with what your saying, More than likely, one of the two parents for all of these kids are either locked up somewhere, or have disappeared and no longer in their life.

  • Hobbes

    They expanded the “free” lunch program last year… By increasing the price paid for a meal in the middle schools and high schools. It’s easy to be “compassionate” with someone else’s money.

  • Hobbes

    I propose that we eliminate the “free” lunch and go to a tiered “reduced” lunch program. Lunch should start at 25 cents. At 22 meals a month, that comes to $22/mo for a family with 4 kids in the program. Don’t try and tell me that’s too much. You can’t feed a family of 5-6 one meal at McDonalds for that amount.

    We can make breakfast 10 cents. I noted a tiered system, so there would be a level at which we take the current “reduced” pricing and add 25/10 respectively.

    This has a two-fold effect. These families would have some sense of feeling as though they are helping to provide for their children and the burden wouldn’t continually fall on the full-fare families and taxpayers. My kids pay full price… As kids with better clothes and far more expensive sneakers eat “free” (some of their parents drive better cars than we do). I’m sure the families of these kids can find $7.70 a month to provide breakfast and lunch (44 meals a month).

    • Holly Henderson

      Great idea….however, your last sentence says it all…..”I’m sure the families of these kids can find $7.70 a month to provide breakfast and lunch (44 meals a month).” you are right in saying thet can find the money, but why would they when they are given free handouts and live entirely off the government every month? These are the worst of the worst and getting ahead in life is not a priority for them and they keep popping babies and keep getting paid….Thank your racist President for it all because he allows the free loaders to keep at it more and more.

  • Kim Smith

    I would never want to see a child go hungry, but this is getting ridiculous. MOST of the families within these schools receive food stamps and sit at home. There are some unfortunate people who are down on their luck, but not most. It is a choice THEY make to be lazy, not work, receive Section 8 housing, free Medicaid, and free food. AND they keep having babies. Why!?!? They are okay with barely getting by. It is unfortunate for their children because with that kind of example, they are doomed to more than likely turn out the same way. They need to get off their butts and work. Even if it is for minimum wage. If they are not actively trying, they should NOT be getting food stamps. Maybe give the children these meals and enough food for the children at home and thats it. Then maybe people would go out and get a job.

  • DS

    True story. My daughter is only in kindergarten and does not understand how the lunch program works. I send a check to pay for her lunch but I lose track of how much she has in her account. She had been buying lunch and didn’t have any money in her account and they told her she could not do it anymore. She said why not it is free! I guess she see no one else paying and assumes it’s free!

  • Tara

    To all u people talking negative about this I really hope u never get down and out and need help. People these days is something else. Just smh at society today. This is for kids in school not families at home. There is some dumb ignorant people in this world today.

    • Curious

      No, just people fed up with caring for half the country who is not working, and one quarter of the country who is on assistance. We cannot feed our own families and yours, too. Why no compassion for the taxpayers who are overtaxed and never thanked?

  • Dawn

    where is the list of the schools? Did we vote on this or are they going to enforce, without we the taxpayers vote? I have been down here less then a year and where I lived before breakfast and lunch was never as much as it is here for just lunch. They need a better system here. How about everyone who paid for their lunch this year gets free lunch next and everyone who got free has to pay and see how it feels. Parents need to start taking responsibility for their children and stop depending on handouts.

    • Dawn

      I don’t mind helping the kids who absolutely need it, but there is a fine line between the parents getting a handout on every little thing and kids who absolutely need it. I would gladly let a child who needed a home with food, support and love come live with us and call him our own just so I knew that child was taken care of. There are so many people out there that get assistance for their children but the children get nothing from it.

  • Richard Bostik

    I think headlines are misleading. Nobody can eat for free, somebody has to pay for it.

    I suggest the headline read, “Taxpayers to provide school lunches for students.”

  • Melody

    You all should be mad that the government feeds criminals in the correction facilities rather than children…whether the families can afford it or not. The inmates should have to have family members send in boxtops and soup labels and lunch money and see who can afford what!

    • Dan in NC

      Melody, The oft-repeated prisoner analogy is a silly argument. The US Constitution prohibits cruel or unusual punishments. Failure to provide food, shelter, etc. would be cruel and unusual. On the other hand, the US Constitution does not grant Robinhood power to the federal government to extract from me to give to you. We are a nation of generous people who would love to help people in need, but we should be allowed to make individual giving choices. A free nation should not assess the people so the government can disburse funds for the primary purpose of buying votes.

      • Curious

        Wealth redistribution is cruel and should be stopped. It punishes the hard workers and benefits those who refuse to work.

  • Mark Stabler

    What happened to Parents being responsible for their children? When did it become the responsibility of the taxpayer to support anyone and everyone that doesn’t want to take care of themselves. These give away programs have absolutely no oversight. Anyone that wants to get a handout can get them, except those that really need it. Why does the government pay more and more to a parent that has more and more children without the ability to support them. It’s time to open orphanages again and take the kids that parents won’t or can’t raise and put that money into those facilities and cut off all these handouts that end up being spent for everything but the kids it is suppose to help. The children would have a much better chance in life than being left to fend for themselves while the handout money is spent by do-nothing parents on junk, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. We are living in a Nation that was the envy of the world. No longer are we number one. Those that think as long as the printing presses roll out the money everything will be fine. They are heading us into a third world class nation. Not heading, we are already there.

  • theremom

    I pay full price for two kids and what gripes me is the ones who get free lunch bring in 20 dollars to get snacks meanwhile my two kids have never been able to get snacks because our lunch is 230 a day which equals about 86 dollars a month.

    • Curious

      $2.30 a day for lunch? Wow! I paid almost that amount 30 years ago! My kids’ lunch is about $5 a day.

  • dobydog1

    oh goody more kids being trained that they deserve free things from the government. at what point do we have more hands out than hands working?

    • Curious

      That tipping point has happened for the first time in history under this federal administration. We have more takers than makers and we cannot support such a structure. There will be a day in America when the welfare state funds run out and those who have lived on tax money for generations will be bereft. They will not know how to make and budget their own money. Their two options will be to get a real job or to turn to crime. Which do you think will be more likely for the entitlement crowd?

  • Allison Ward

    My kids in middle school don’t even eat lunch at school they say it’s nasty and gross. They come home and eat a sandwich til dinner.

    • Apocalypse

      Just wait, the next thing to come is the parents who get everything free will complain that the food is not tasty for their kids and doesnt fill them up… know these low life greedy people are. Give an inch, they try and take a mile!

  • Apocalypse


  • Thomas Austin

    I am divided. Part of me knows that feeding children is a good thing. I do not want any child to go hungry. If they are going to have such a program then it should be in all schools and all the children should have free meals. This does bring up the question of, Where is all the “food stamp” money going? If these children are form families that are so poor they have no food then I am sure they qualify for “food stamps”. So why aren’t these children “brown bagging” their meals? If their parents are so neglectful they would allow their child to go without food, why hasn’t the child care people picked them up and placed them in some home or a safer government ran facility? If he parents are abusing the “food stamp” program, then why haven’t they been placed in jail? Why are we paying the parents to feed the children and then having to do it ourselves?

    • Apocalypse

      Answer is: because then they will all say we are trying to be racist and take away their stuff! Typical stuff nowadays Thomas.

  • MT

    since im a single parent, i would like this for my child, oh but wait – thats right, i get up and work everyday so i dont qualify

  • erose

    I pray for people like you all. Pray that you never have to go through things to use the services that you talk about. I am a working mother of two. Worked from the age of 14. You dont know peoples issues. I cant get food stamp or free lunch for my kids because I make to much. Mean while Im living check to check, barrowing from 401 to pay doc bills. So I think its great. I dont get wellfair, housing or free anything. Everyone is so quick to talk about Obama when the problem started with Bush Sr, taking prayer out of schools and the fact that there are people like you all who only think about yourselves. What are you doing to help other than talking. Are you going to any of these people you talk trash about to see why they are having issues to need or what these programs. Have you offered to help show them how to get out the issues. Wish the home owner program was out 10 years ago when my husband died and I lost my home. So dont talk unless you know or have an answer to the issues. May GOD have mercy on you, bless you to continue to live with all you have and not have to need the things you down others for.

  • JT

    Wonder how many of the “MY TAX MONEY GOING TO FEED WELFARE RABBLERABBLERABBLE” posters are old, white geezers shaking their arthritic hands from their Craftmaster Adjustable Beds and spilling Ensure all over the place while they are on Medicare/Medicaid and collecting Social Security…Take another blood pressure pill, grandpa. The fact that I went to work today is keeping your ancient, white-bread, racist/classist/sexist rump alive, and you don’t hear me fussing about it…

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