"It does have something to do with more parents applying for free and reduced lunch because of loss of jobs and other things," says Devon Tucker, who works for the Muscogee County School District's Nutrition Program.
Despite what the National Bureau of Economic Research says about the recession being over he's seeing an increase in families needing help feeding their kids. And so does Carolyn Tucker, she manages the cafeteria at Double Churches Middle School in Columbus. There's a lot of kids Tucker says eat free meals at school everyday, and for those who can't get it free can get it for less. "If they do not qualify for free, a lot of them qualify for reduced that is 30-cents for their breakfast and 40 cents for their lunch. but sometimes even that is hard," says Carolyn Tucker. She says the local food service has an association that's asking Georgia lawmakers to do away with "reduced" meals altogether. "That's where the breakdown comes. That's where we have the hardest time getting the money, so if we could just do away with the reduced, we think it would be a lot easier for the families,"says Tucker. And that's where Devon Tucker comes in, his department is constantly trying to help those families signed up so that their children can fill up. "We're making phone calls to a lot of the parents because the information on the application is not correct or we need more information, so we're making contact with them via letter, via phone calls,"says Devon Tucker.
For parents interested in applying for free or reduced meals they can visit their child's school and apply in person. Once lawmakers give the thumbs up parents will be able to apply for free and reduced meals online.