Angel Accounts help HUSD students handle meal debts
’Tis the season when many look to create better circumstances for those in need. The Humboldt Unified School District offers an opportunity to help pay off student meal debt so no child has to worry about being hungry.
HUSD’s Food and Nutrition Department created Angel Accounts to help reduce the burden of unpaid meal debt. Anyone can donate, and any amount is accepted and immensely appreciated, said Pam Liuzzo, HUSD nutritionist.
“We’ve seen many families that qualified last year not qualifying this year because of the minimum wage increase. No child should have to shoulder the burden of not having enough money to buy a school breakfast or lunch, no matter what the situation is at home,” Liuzzo said. “Sadly, school meal debt does not go away. It follows the student from one year to the next.”
Oftentimes, staff will put their own money into children’s accounts, she said. Since the program started, the community has generously contributed to cover the meal debts.
The National School Lunch Program/ National School Breakfast Program provides free, reduced, or full price meals to students that qualify. Here is a breakdown of costs for students who can and cannot afford meals:
K-8 breakfast is $0.30 for reduced, $1.25 for paid.
K-8 lunch is $0.40 for reduced, $2.35 for paid.
High school breakfast is $0.30 for reduced, $1.25 for paid.
High school lunch is $0.40 reduced, $2.85 for paid.
When K-8th grade students have a negative balance on their accounts and the parents have been notified, the district, while not required to do so, will offer an alternate meal (sandwich, milk, fruits and vegetables). At the high school level, students with a negative balance do not receive an alternate meal. They may, however, choose to work in the kitchen for 15 minutes to earn a free meal.
Donations to the Child Nutrition Angel account can be made by calling Pam Liuzzo at 928-759-5014 or emailing email@example.com or by contacting Food and Nutrition Director Tami Hitt-Wyant at 928-759-5012 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at email@example.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.