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31. No Such Thing as Free Lunch
Ever since Mary moved to the United States
year ago, she often heard the phrase "no
thing as free lunch". While she understood this
mean that you can't get something for nothing,
heard other mothers at her child's school talking
the free lunch program.
"How much does it
to enroll?" Mary asked the secretary at her
's school. The secretary smiled and told Mary that
didn't cost anything except a little bit of
. In order to find out if Mary's child
qualified to get free lunch at school, she
to fill out a form. The form was
in many languages besides English. It asked Mary
questions like where she lived, how many children
had, and what her annual income was.
the form was easy, and Mary didn't have
include proof of her income. She was worried
if the information on the form would be
with other agencies. The secretary told her that
information was not shared. If Mary made below
certain amount annually, her child could get free
not just during the school year, but also
during the summer, when there was no school.
knew this would help her family. While Mary
work, she only worked part-time. Giving her child
for lunch every day did add up and
the family budget.
After filling out and submitting
form back to the school secretary, Mary had
wait a month or two before finding out
she was qualified. A few weeks after she
the form, a letter arrived in the mail.
letter informed her that her child was qualified.
letter also told her that her child could
get free breakfast in school.