All Pine River-Backus Parents Encouraged to File for Meal Benefits – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal

PINE RIVER — The Pine River-Backus School District urges all parents to complete applications for meal allowances, regardless of qualifications.

The Pine River-Backus School District receives title funds and compensatory benefits based on the number of applications parents complete each year, so applications can qualify the school district for funds that help pay for education students, reduce the cost of activity fees, and qualify the Family Zone to save on certain utilities or other programs.

Some may think this only applies to those seeking approval for a free or reduced lunch, but all parents are encouraged to complete applications.

“It’s important that all families complete it, regardless of income,” said Jolene Bengtson, business manager for the school district.

This also applies to those who automatically qualify for a free or reduced lunch under new federal guidelines.

“They changed the way people can be automatically certified,” Bengtson said. “There is a direct certification notice that goes out. Families can qualify through other state agencies like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or other similar programs. If they are eligible for these programs, they can also automatically qualify for direct certification through foodservice.”

Sometimes families who already qualify for free and reduced lunches don’t feel the need to fill out an application, like last year when all students received free lunches. This free lunch program ended with the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

Failure to complete applications may result in loss of school funding.

Those who complete an application will receive a free t-shirt.

“If they complete their family application onsite at open houses or online, they can pick up their t-shirt when they get here,” Bengtson said.

The Pequot Lakes School District also encourages families to complete their applications.

Travis Grimler is a weekly editor for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He can be reached at 218-855-5853 or [email protected]

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