Milaca schools do not dump food if student’s lunch fund behind

The Milaca School District does not dump students’ uneaten trays of food if they are found to have no money in their lunch accounts.
That is according to Milaca School District Food Service Director Mandy Zens.
She was asked about the policy this month in light of reports of some school districts in the country denying food to students when their lunch accounts are behind.
Milaca charges its students in the reduced-fee meal program 40 cents per meal, but if there is no money in those students’ accounts, the district does not deny them lunch, Zens said.
Zens can’t recall any instances of denying students lunches during her 14 years on the job and said the district’s lunch clerks “go to great lengths” to contact parents about lunch account situations.
“Numerous, numerous attempts” are made, and all the contacts have worked out, she said. And if there is a special situation that a family is going through, “we have accounts to help pay for their student’s meals,” Zens added.
The Milaca district also has a meal policy in place that if the district cannot reach the parent about an empty lunch account, the school can serve alternative meals, Zens said. Those consist of a sandwich, fruit, vegetable and milk.
She said that in 14 years, she can only recall two instances of alternative lunches being given and that none of those occurred in the last two to three years.
Zens also understands the logic of not denying food to the students when their account is low.
“We don’t believe the students should suffer,” she said. “It is the parents’ responsibility.”