Rep. Kristi Noem hears complaints over new lunch mandates
By Jacqueline Quynh, Multimedia Journalist - email
YANKTON, S.D. (KTIV) -
The new USDA guidelines for school lunch have been in place for a month. But, they're still leaving a bad taste with many parents and students.
Congresswoman Kristi Noem has been critical of the new school lunch program since it took effect last month. Although designed for kids to eat healthier foods, she says, some kids aren't getting enough food.
"Our kids are very different from kids in Florida, New York City we live an active lifestyle in South Dakota, and so we need to make sure we're meeting all their needs," Congresswoman Kristi Noem said.
Noem's concerns echo the complaints she's heard from district leaders across South Dakota.
"The kindergartners are getting the same amount of food as a 5th grader," Sandi Kraemer, a child nutrition supervisor at the Yankton School District.
Sandi Kraemer, is the district's nutrition supervisor. She says a recent survey of South Dakota Superintendents shows schools are having a hard time adjusting to the new guidelines. Some question whether students who already struggle to afford lunch can afford to buy more food to stay full.
"For free and reduced kids, they don't usually have the money to pay and so they have to take what we offer," Kraemer said.
While Kraemer thinks more time was needed to implement the program, she believes it's a good start.
"They have to have a half cup of fruit of vegetable on their tray, they didn't have to have that before which I think is a good thing, kids are getting used to it, they're not arguing with us anymore," Kraemer said.
Congresswoman Noem says this issue will remain on her plate, as she talks with more schools and students, even getting input from her own kids. She's planning to petition the USDA for more flexibility.
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