Many Moscow students go hungry when they don't qualify for free or reduced lunch program

MOSCOW, ID - The latest statistics from Idaho's Department of Education show that almost 33% of children in the Moscow School District quality for the free and reduced lunch program.

That number is lower than the state's average, which is at about 50%. But Moscow School District's Nutrition Director Mimi Pengilly said many students are falling through the cracks because they don't quality for free meals, and they can't afford them. Pengilly spoke to the Women's Giving Circle in Moscow Tuesday morning and explained that her meal program is a business.

"I don't know if I will break even this year," said Pengilly. "And the school district, of course they support me in many ways, but they're funding is extremely tight."

Pengilly said balancing the district's nutrition budget is difficult because of limited state funding and increasing food prices. The school district can provide breakfast, weekend meals, and summer lunches to some students in need thanks to federal funding, but they could use some help from the community.

Pengilly said you can help feed local kids by donating to the Idaho Food Bank, or directly to the school district's nutrition program to buy lunches for children in need.