Free, discounted meals available to students affected by auto strike

As members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) continue their nationwide strike against General Motors, Oxford Community Schools is reminding folks that help is available to ensure students affected by it don’t go hungry.

Children from families whose income has been negatively impacted by the strike, which began Sept. 15, may qualify for free or reduced-price meals – breakfast and lunch – at school.

“We have seen an increase (in applications) because of (the strike),” explained Karen Bissett, director of food and nutrition services for the district. “That program is for things that come up (in life) that people don’t plan on. That’s what the program is there for.”

Normally, elementary school breakfasts cost $1.50 each and lunches cost $2.85 each. At the middle and high schools, breakfast is $2 while lunch is $3.25.

But, if a household’s income falls at or below the limits of the eligibility guidelines set forth by the federal government, then a child may qualify for either free or reduced-price meals. Reduced-price breakfasts cost 30 cents each, while lunches are 40 cents.

According to Bissett, for the last few years, approximately 20 percent of the district’s K-12 students receive free or reduced-price meals.

Those interested in applying are encouraged to do so online at

Paper applications can also be obtained and should be submitted to the school office in a sealed envelope. The envelope should be addressed to Karen Bissett, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, 745 N. Oxford Rd., Oxford, MI 48371.

People do not need to submit any proof of income with their applications.

“We’re not policing it,” Bissett said. “If people feel they need this, then they can apply and we take it at face value.”

However, if for some reason proof of income is needed or requested at a later date, it must be presented, she noted.

Applications for free and reduced-price meals are sent out at the beginning of each school year, but they can be submitted anytime as the need arises.

“If you’re working and you’ve got a good job, you have no reason to pay attention to that (application),” Bissett said. “But now (with the strike), (people) may look at it differently (because) they are affected by what’s going on. Now, it may be important to their family.”

For more information, please visit and look under “Departments” and “Nutrition Services.”

Folks can also call Nutrition Services at (248) 969-5167.


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