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Harrisburg school to lose access to its free breakfast and lunch programs

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A school in Harrisburg is left scrambling after learning it will lose funding for its free breakfast and lunch program. This comes after...

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A school in Harrisburg is left scrambling after learning it will lose funding for its free breakfast and lunch program. This comes after the federal government tightened regulations for its food programs.

While students at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Harrisburg fill their bellies with food at lunch, school administrators are worried about the student's future access to free lunch and breakfast.

"It's amazing how access to free breakfast and lunch has changed the dynamics of the school," said Ellen Hartman, Head of School, St. Stephen's Episcopal School. "Students were just able to succeed at a higher rate because they are attentive and really because their bellies are full and their basic needs are being met."

The school began offering the free program through a partnership with the Central PA Food Bank about three years ago. But now, due to change in federal regulations on January 31st, the school will lose its funding for its free breakfast and lunch programs.

Hartman is now scrambling to come up with a solution so her kids won't go hungry.

"If we don't raise the money to cover the cost then the food will stop coming," said Hartman. "And we will have to ask our families to pack meals for our students, even the students who I know the families will struggle to do so."

Hartman says it costs $5,670 a month to feed the 100 breakfast and lunch meals served everyday. She's hoping to raise about $20,000 to cover the costs until the end of this school year, as they look for a permanent solution for the next school year.

"Healthy food is a right, it's not a privilege," said Hartman. "I want all of our families regardless of their backgrounds to be able to access healthy foods."

More information on how to donate to keep these programs funded through the remaining school year can be found here.