Our goal at Pfood Pfairness in Pflugerville Schools is to ensure that every student may receive nourishing meals without worrying about debt or embarrassment. No child should ever experience hunger or humiliation as a result of their family’s financial situation.
As a student-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we work hard to provide the necessary funds to assist families in our district by reducing the financial burden of the students’ lunch costs.
The income guidelines to qualify for free or reduced lunch are set at the federal level, with no consideration for location, i.e., the numbers are the same whether you live in Hollywood, CA or Sweetwater, TX. To qualify for free lunch, a family of four must make less than $3,250 per month, and that is before taxes! Additionally, these guidelines do not account for family dynamics, which means a single parent of three, with two children in daycare and one in school, has the same qualifying restrictions as a two-parent household with two teenagers who work. Needless to say, with the rise in cost of living, there is a significant subset of the Pflugerville population that does not qualify for benefits.
If a student has a negative balance, the alternative lunch policy replaces the child’s chosen entrée with a cold cheese sandwich. While this replacement lunch does cost less, the students’ accounts are still charged, and the families accrue more and more debt as the cycle continues.
Pfood Pfairness aims to take a proactive approach. By working directly with campus staff, we are able to identify and sponsor those children who may need assistance. With the help of our supporters, we are then able to fund student lunch accounts, giving children access to hot meals, eliminating the embarrassment of having their chosen entrée replaced in front of their peers, and preventing negative balances from accruing.
At the end of every school year, the debt to the food service provider must be paid by PfISD (as required by USDA federal law). If there are negative balances beyond what is anticipated, the district must repay them out of funds originally allocated for student programs and teacher resources meant to enhance educational experiences. And still, the students’ negative lunch balances remain. Helping those families in need by pre-emptively funding student accounts not only ensures children have access to hot meals and averts their potential embarrassment, it also prevents an ever-increasing lunch debt that would ultimately fall on the district to repay.
KXAN Interview with Blake DeVine
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the United States Census Bureau, there were over 160,000 people living in PfISD in the year 2020. And how much have we grown since then? This means if our community is able to give just $1 per person in their household, we would not only pay off the 2022-23 debt in full, we could continue to help those in need and prevent students from receiving the alternative lunch.
We want to make a difference, but we need your help!