Recovering lunch debt
To prevent lunch debt from adding up, Diane Pratt-Heavner of the School Nutrition Association recommends:
Show parents how to apply for meal benefits online or via phone, with assistance in other languages if necessary.
High-poverty districts should apply for a federal Community Eligibility Provision to serve free meals to all students without the need for individual household applications.
Consider practices that do not stigmatize students who cannot pay, such as providing lunch in a brown bag so it looks like it came from home.
Link to main story: Debt mounts as school lunch shaming ends
Reach out to parents who can afford to pay for meals to ensure that they are doing so, and consider tracking payments with an online system.
Connect needy students with charitable organizations and other community resources.