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USDA proposal could impact free school lunches for students in Central Wisconsin

WAUSAU (WAOW) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing changes to it’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). But, the chair of the House Education and Labor committee said it could impact more than 500,000 students who receive free meals at school.

Karen Fochs, the Wausau School District Nutrition Services Director, said 1,500 of the 2,600 students in the district that receive free meals could be impacted by the proposal.

“It would be awful if something were to take meals away that are needed by students in our community,” Fochs said.

Senator Tammy Baldwin echoed that sentiment. In a statement to News 9 Baldwin said, “Trump administration is going around Congress to take food assistance away from 25,000 Wisconsinites, and slash funding for millions of children across America who need lunch at school.”

But, in a press release, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the new proposal would close a loophole in the existing program.

“That is why we are changing the rules,” Perdue said. “Preventing abuse of critical safety net system, so those who need food assistance the most are the only ones who receive it.”

School officials in Wausau urge parents who are worried their kids may be affected to apply for free and reduced lunch. Free and reduced lunch can be rewarded outside of SNAP. To find the application, click here.

There is also a public comment period for the USDA proposal. For information on how to give your input, click here.

Sarah McGrew

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