When I first heard about the possibility of providing free meals for all schools, I crossed my fingers and my toes and hoped and hoped that all children in this county would be able to get free meals, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

When they broke it down, I was given a chart, a very confusing chart that I tried to make sense of for all our readers.

I like to think that I figured it out.

But, without using the charts, the data and the figures, what I took away from the meeting was basically the two schools who will receive free meals, Sydnor Jennings and Sinai, have a higher number of students who automatically receive free meals because their families receive assistance such as SNAP.

I also found out something that I never knew before — children who receive those benefits don’t have to fill out the free/reduced meal form at the beginning of each school year.

So, when I think about the other students attending schools that won’t be getting the free meals, I remember the students who already have families who can’t afford meals hopefully are already getting free meals in the first place, even the ones who fill out the forms.

For all the parents who want free meals for their students who don’t attend the affected two schools, apply.

Although you may not always get it like you hoped, (My parents never qualified for free or reduced meals.) you never know unless you try.

Another way I like to think of it — once again, the reason these schools qualify to receive free meals for all students in the first place is because they have X amount of families already on government assistance — so if your school did not qualify, that means your school district has fewer families on government assistance.

Isn’t that a good thing?

I don’t completely understand how the government works, I’ll be the first to admit that, but from what I can gather, the schools are going to be getting money back for using this program.

And, this program is free to enter.

The school system’s hope is to one day be able to offer free meals for all, because right now, they’re saying that would cost over $80,000.

But for now, they’re helping the ones they can.

So, can we all try to be happy about that?

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com