After some Riverside-Brookfield High School staff members saw some students not eating lunch or asking to borrow lunch money they decided to do something about it.

RB, with the help of its food service provider Quest, has begun a reduced-price lunch program that allows students who have a financial need but do not qualify for the federal free lunch program buy a nutritious lunch for only $1.

“The motivation came from staff members observing kids eating nothing,” said District 208 Interim Superintendent Dave Bonnette.

The District 208 school board unanimously approved the new reduced price lunch program in January. The program started at the beginning of the second semester.

So far, 28 students have signed up for the reduced price lunch program said Dawn Ives, Quest’s onsite manager of the RB cafeteria. About 175 RB students qualify for the free lunch program.

Students enrolled in the reduced-price lunch program can also get breakfast at the RB cafeteria at the reduced price, Ives said.

To qualify for the reduced-price lunch program, students must meet income requirements based on family size. For example, a family of four can have a monthly income of no more than $3,400 a month.

Students or parents may apply to be part of the programs by contacting Lauren Presta, the administrative assistant to RB Assistant Principal for Student Affairs John Passarella. Families must provide proof of income such as two consecutive pay stubs for all wage earners in the household.

With RB’s system of paying for lunch by debit card, the card of students in the free or reduced-price lunch programs get swiped like every other students card and, therefore, no one knows which students qualify for the free or reduced-price lunches.

Quest is subsidizing the price difference between one-dollar and the normal cost of a lunch in the reduced-price lunch program, so there is no cost to RB for this program.

– Bob Skolink