Parker schools to have free lunch for all students

All students at Parker schools will get free breakfast and lunch, starting on the first day of school this year, thanks to a new federal program.

The program is the National School Lunch Program’s Community Eligibility Provision, which is in turn part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. It was made available to all states in 2014-2015.

For a school or school district to be eligible, at least 40 percent of its students much be directly certified for free meals. The Parker Unified School District (PUSD) meets this qualification.

According to PUSD Superintendent Jim Lotts, this will make it much easier for parents.

“Parents will no longer be required to fill out household income applications,” Lotts told Parker Live, “and the District will no longer be required to track meal counts by Free, Reduced, and Paid categories. We are excited to be able to offer this new program for all of our families attending our schools and believe it will be beneficial to all of our students.”

Parents will not need to do anything to register their child in the program. Food must meet the program’s standards for nutritional quality and healthfulness.


  1. Bronte Lerma

    I already have the info. Thank you!

  2. John Stephen Lane Sr.

    They don’t have responsible parents?

  3. Robert McCormick

    That’s nice I remember not being able to pay for lunch. nice for low income families to not have to worry about being able to eat lunch at school

  4. Alyssa Montijo

    Aileen LaPointe-Wheeler

  5. Alyssa Montijo

    Some parents take care of their kids as best as they can. Some parents do it all by themselves without the help of the other. You never know someones situation is. You should be happy the children are getting free lunches.

  6. Aileen LaPointe-Wheeler

    And regardless if some students have money are not..all students will have bfst/lunch regardless well they attending school…happy for the students who dont have money.

  7. Carole Mackey

    Who’s paying for that?

  8. Randy Whitewater

    Good to know, can’t concentrate on a empty tank.

  9. Ron Bales

    Good question!!!! Its a good thing as long as whoever is paying for it is informed

  10. Jody L Smithson Wilson

    …And guess who will pay for this? That’s right – you, the taxpaying people of La Paz County. Hmmm, wasn’t there a budget issue earlier this year about NOT having money to cover programs already in place so they had to raise it by 3 million dollars already?

  11. John Stephen Lane Sr.

    Garrison Eddy These responses are not unexpected. The first responsibility of any parent when they choose to procreate is that they can provide for their OWN children. If this cannot be done, then they should be no children until such time that the parent (s) can take care of their own. Having children is a choice and a tremendous reasonability that too few will acknowledge. Society should help those in true need, but not because of poor judgement and poor choices.

  12. Joey Stillman

    Bethany Stillman holy moly

  13. Marjorie Bradford

    At least every child will get to eat.

  14. Mark Tate

    Firstly, it’s a federal program so money comes from every tax payer. Secondly, why would it be upsetting to know that our tax money is going to children’s food? It’s better then it going to tax breaks for the rich who pay sub-par wages to their employees. I’m thrilled my taxes are going to the kids.

  15. Christopher M Dobbins

    Money better spent than lining the pockets of the rich.

  16. Christopher M Dobbins

    I know from experience that it’s hard to learn when you are hungry.
    Happy for the kids.

  17. Fabian Castro

    You don’t know what you’re talking about .
    La Paz is NOT paying for this, and if they were so what?!!
    It’s for our kids!!
    Quit being negative .
    Just be appreciative.

  18. Fabian Castro

    Can’t believe some of these comments .
    I don’t like getting involved , but seriously if you don’t know what you’re talking about .
    This program is not sanctioned by our local government , it was something our schools asked for and got it.
    From the state, that means kids that don’t have good at home or money to buy lunch will get to eat, no judging by other kids no bullying , they’re all equal.
    Think of the positive the negativity , that shits old already:
    Have a nice day .

  19. Chantel Castro

    So you people are getting upset that all these children are able to have 2 meals a day (breakfast & lunch) for free but yet a prisoner gets 3 FREE meals a day (which tax payers are paying for). Maybe you all should be happy & appreciative. For some of these children, this is the ONLY meal they get!!!

  20. Scott Clark

    Money well spent. Glad to see federal tax dollars spent right here in our backyard, on our children. Bravo!

  21. Terri Salcedo

    On point— Chantel ????????

  22. Chantel Castro

    It’s sad & ridiculous that all these people are just worried about who is going to be paying for it. This is for the children, what does it matter who’s paying for it.

  23. Spence Arnold

    I’d say feed the children! If you low life’s have never paid for something good guess what now you have!

  24. Jody L Smithson Wilson

    I apologize. I didn’t know it was from a federal program.

  25. Hollie Lucas

    Big thanks and great job to Karen Bonds for all your hard work to get this program for our community.

  26. Alan Nelson

    Free breakfast and lunch for low income kids is one thing. Free breakfast and lunch for EVERYONE is another. When will they start handing out dinner to everyone. Then they can put cots in the gyms and keep the kids there, to make sure they’re there in time for free breakfast. And what about weekends and school breaks? How will the kids ever survive without the Government giving out free meals. My God. They’re all going to die of starvation……..
    What a wonderful way of indoctrinating our children to socialism. Free government food for everyone. Enjoy your borscht, comrades.

  27. Callee Shrewsbury

    You and me and guess what, you and I both pay for the food of child molesters sitting in prison. So which are you more unhappy about?

  28. Lori Leitzke Lusk

    By all means let’s blame the kids because clearly its their fault.

  29. Fabian Castro

    Wow man, seriously !

  30. Carol Belden

    I would rather see all the kids getting free lunch and breakfast and not send so much money to all these foreign countries that don’t appreciate what we do for him

  31. Jim Wooddell

    NOTHING is FREE. Who do you think pays for it? The prison thing is just a tangent completely unrelated. We are NOT socialist.
    Yeah we should all bow and just take our medicine and be happy and appreciative. what does that define?

  32. Maria E Rodriguez

    WOW! ???? take it as a donation – your GOOD DEED of the year, (feeding the children) GOD BLESS your little hearts..

  33. Netera LeMaster

    Why only Parker ?

    Why not Bouse, Salome and Quartsite also

  34. Am glad every1 getting free meals, regardless if you think it’s taxpayers paying for it. Federal grant..

  35. Natalie VanHoose

    Chantel Castro-Well spoken. This is SO LONG OVERDUE!! You’ve never truly felt like a monster until you’ve had to be the adult that takes that tray away and replaces it with a sandwich. I tried to just pay for the tray but it wasn’t allowed. So happy about this decision!

  36. Thalla Paddock

    What is your problem?! Serious. My child attends private school & we pay for everything, but this is great news for students attending public schools! They’ll eventually learn that it’s best to work for your wants/needs, but for now let kids be kids and enjoy.

  37. Dj Fabe

    I honestly don’t get you Jim, who cares at this point ?
    It’s helping our local kids, and they actually eliminated a position at the school “pos” .
    That alone is saving the school money , the program is sanctioned by the state and not our local economy.
    But yes, “we pay for it” and I’m ok with that. You have your position and opinion and so do we.
    Thank you

  38. You have no idea how hard it is to see kids begging for food off of other kids trays because they are hungry. They will take half eaten food, food that’s been mashed up… they don’t care. A lot of our students don’t get fed at home. I’m a conservative and not fond of handouts unless it involves kids who through no fault of their own got stuck with parents unable, for whatever reason, to provide for them. Alan and Jim’s attitude is why I’m not in Parker Area news any more. If any of you want a kinder more gentler place join Parker Arizona News.

  39. Julie Keen

    Every school should feed kids for free!!! Each state can afford it. We can house criminals and fed them for free

  40. Tom Schmitz

    I agree & will go a bit farther. No one wants children to go hungry. There are redundant programs in Parker & State & Federal govtd to get plenty of food to children via their parents efforts. I will, and have, opened my wallet to help many a child. I get so frustrated when parents want free stuff because of low income but I see too many paper plates on cars & trucks, beautiful manicured finger nails, hair recently dyed & tattoos galore. All this from the parents who are in one give away program after another. Of corse not all fit this critique, and no intended affront to those who genuinely need some assistance. Just saying I think more parents ought to step up to the plate, take responsibility, define wants from needs and grow up before your children grow up. Remember, children learn by example.

  41. Alan Nelson

    We pay high taxes already. People forget that the government doesn’t have any of it’s own money. They have to steal (take by force or threat of force) or borrow money from other people. I (retired on fixed income) now pay higher taxes so that the children of people, who make a lot more money than I do, can eat breakfast and lunch for free. And some people think that this is OK?

  42. John Wright

    You’re leaning heavily into a very singular perspective on this. Here’s another one: When your taxes pay for the children of your community to have a successful, fruitful education, including the meals that make it possible for them to stay at school and get what is sometimes the only real nutrition some of them will get in their day, your community benefits from that investment in myriad ways, you included. When you go to the MVD, to the grocery store, to the bank, to a restaurant, to your insurance agency, when you do business with others who need competent employees of their own – all of those things are facilitated by investments in education. So you COULD see it, alternatively, as an investment in the quality and standard of the community you’ve chosen to live in. Just a thought!

  43. Alan Nelson

    John, I have no issues helping those who need help. I have issues with me paying higher taxes so children of those making 2 to 3 times what I do can have free meals.

  44. John Wright

    I was responding to the idea of taxation as theft, which is based on ideas that, taken to their logical conclusion, would make America into something that even the proponents of the idea would hate in practice. But I hear you about crippling taxation and government waste – that’s a bigger conversation and things that both sides should want to eradicate.

  45. Joe Kelly

    use it or loose it John tax isn’t theft its sharing or investing back into your community , you can’t your money with you when you die but you can make a difference to your community by paying tax, just imagine what the roads bridges airport water systems would look like if no one paid tax, no police no fire service no military ?

  46. Cailya Brault

    Understandable opinion from someone who doesn’t go to school with kids who get asked daily “how come you didn’t get lunch?” And they respond with “I don’t have any money”

    When I was in school I qualified for free lunch and ended up giving my lunch to a friend who’s family didn’t qualify for free lunch,but still didn’t have enough money to pay for it.

  47. Thad Nickoley

    Why in the world are we denying them free dinners! Are the parents really expected to feed them!??

  48. Orlando Sanchez

    Quartzsite has had free breakfast and lunches for quite a while

  49. Orlando Sanchez

    It’s heartbreaking to see how mean people are being about this. Some children rely on the schools free lunches and for some it’s the only food they get in the whole day. These are kids for crying out loud and why should we let them go without eating just because you don’t want to pay a little more out of taxes? I would gladly pay more taxes if it meant the local less fortunate kids will get at least two full meals in their day. Districts like Quartzsite have been doing this for a while and things have gone well.

  50. Robert Shank

    If the only meals they get is at school then how do the kids survive in the summer?

  51. Jim Wooddell

    Dj Fabe I care. I am not a socialist and I do not believe in socialist programs. The real question is why are you offended by my beliefs?

  52. Alan Nelson

    What about when the federal grant money or grant period runs out? You think that all of a sudden they will stop feeding everyone? Come back to this thread in a couple of years, after the grant is over and the program continues with local funding. When was the last time you saw a Govt freebie cancelled? We will be paying for this forever, one way or another.

  53. Carlos Castro Jr.

    Unfortunately, there are parents who could care less if their kids eat or not. Seeing some of the comments I’ll say this. I’m a pure capitalist, but trying to call something like this a “socialist program” trying to push your political view is ridiculous. Yeah I see your point but this the matter of the kids eat or not. Do you function better at your job when you food in your system? ???? Let’s make sure the kids eat right.

  54. Carlos Castro Jr.

    What do you mean “you people”?

  55. Jim Wooddell

    Just food for thought…
    The liberal movement amounts to nothing more the making excuses to legitimize a platform or laziness and entitlements.

  56. Richard Bierbrodt

    All the negative people are acting like the kids are getting a 5 ⭐️Breakfast and Lunch that’s costing 12.99 a plate. For Real be happy. Not like the taxes aren’t high as it is…. guess what they will keep going up.

  57. Jennifer Goodrich

    Amber Nicole Bazilius look at all this bitching about a grant that the district got for the schools. I’m glad our kids get these free meals in Texas ????

  58. Jennifer Goodrich

    It’s a federal grant ????

  59. Nicole Bierbrodt

    Did anyone that is complaining really read the article and do any research?? The program stems from Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Which gets its funding from the USDA…. which means NOBODY’S TAXES ARE PAYING FOR IT SO STOP CRYING !! EVERYONE’S KIDS GET TO EAT FREE AND THANK KAREN FOR WORKING AS HARD AS SHE DID TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY KID GETS TO EAT!!!

  60. Maggie Mae

    They hace to apply for the same grant that PUSD did and then they have to qualify. Those are different school districts than Parker unified.

  61. Dj Fabe

    Jim Wooddell
    Far from
    Being a liberal, you’ve been accused of being one as well and we all know it isn’t true .
    Facts are the kids are the ones benefiting , I understand working to get what you want.
    But let’s be happy man, that we as a community are finally getting something and not the big wig schools .
    No argument here , we have a right to our opinions and beliefs .
    Thanks for the debate always interesting .

  62. Jim Wooddell

    Dj Fabe So let me ask you this. Why would a parent choose not to feed their kids when the government will do it for them?
    I am not talking about needy families. I am talking about families that are perfectly capable of providing for their children.
    This is NOT kids benefiting. Instead, it’s teaching them to be dependent on the government.

    This was Hilary’s plan claiming parents were not the best place for children and that the government should raise them.

  63. Fabian Castro

    Hey Jim don’t be mad , get over it. It’s done, bitching makes you feel better and that’s ok.
    Im fine with whatever you feel or think , cause st the end of the day, this program is happening wether you like it or not.
    Im still gonna have my views , still not going to care how you feel and still going to have kids eating for free (even though I am very well capable of feeding and or paying for this foot). I’m thankful and I’m even happier knowing there are families that do go through a rough patch and ate finally eating a break.
    I know you like debating , and blah blah blah.
    But I’m good , Ive said what I wanted to say and now I’m gonna go eat me some tamales.
    Have a good day

  64. Mary Bierbrodt

    Perfectly stated!!! Thank you!!!

  65. Alex Bannerman

    Alan Nelson it’s for the kids. Don’t you like kids. What about puppies ? Do you hate them too ?

  66. Tracy McConnell

    I don’t know why this is even a discussion or debate? I have always paid for my kids’ lunches and I think its awesome that its free this year! Every bit helps! Thank you Karen for knowing what’s available and getting this program in Parker! ❤

  67. Michael Bailey

    Look, something else to bitch about because, “why not.”

    Some people will complain about the sun coming up.

  68. Jim Wooddell

    Nobody’s taxes are paying for it! That is just brilliant. Does the government grow money on trees? I want to plant one of those!

  69. Katherine Wheatley

    I think it’s amazing that our schools have that option. I have felt that every child should have access to free breakfast and lunch. Period. There is no negative in this, but as usual, Jim throws his negative views where they aren’t even warranted. I’m glad that it will be free for every child this year! We should appreciate the hard work of the people that fought for it! ????

  70. Dj Fabe

    Katherine Wheatley
    And they are amazing too ma’am !

  71. Katherine Wheatley

    Dj Fabe what kind are they?

  72. April White

    I’m happy lol lunch was expensive for 4 kids then I got 2 more going in ????

  73. Vanessa Marie

    Damn, you are right. Reading these comments is crazy. Can’t please em all is what I say, daily. Pretty sad if you ask me. But as a working mother of 4 that are going to school, this will help tremendously. Even qualifying for reduced lunch was pricy when you have more than one kid in school. So I will count this as a blessing this year especially after I just told the husband that this year after our pay raises we were going to be paying full price so get ready for the bill ????????????.
    I’m a grateful(working my ass off) mother of 4.

  74. Brandi Becenti

    Obviously they’ve never stepped in the cafeteria and seen first hand how many kids don’t eat because they didn’t have funds on their account. Sadly most probably wouldn’t care just want to “comment” about it.

  75. Fabian Castro

    Katherine Wheatley
    Mom’s mild hot

  76. Katherine Wheatley

    Brandi Becenti yep. It’s the usual negative people who know very little about the things the comment on. Must be fun for them. Cheap thrills, I guess. ????????‍♀️

  77. April A. Esquerra


  78. Josh Savino

    It wouldn’t be so damn hot if the Sun didn’t come up! #BooooooSun

  79. Terilyn Gary

    Yay Obama meals… I ????????????????????????

  80. Lily Tiger

    I am happy to see federal tax dollars serving people rather than funding wars and giving tax breaks for corporations and billionaires… please complain about tax breaks for people who own yachts with elevators for their smaller yachts and fuel for their private jets…

  81. Loretta Flaherty

    I don’t understand why anyone would bitch about this. There’s absolutely no harm in feeding children.

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