SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — While students across Siouxland received free lunch during the pandemic, many are now struggling to pay for their meals.

Since the Federal School Lunch Program reverted to pre-pandemic pricing at the beginning of the school year, Sioux City students have accrued more than $12,000 in debt.

Officals with the district are encouraging parents with outstanding debts to apply for the Federal Free and Reduced Meal programs.

“They can, obviously you know, as they could before, you know, apply for assistance, you know and see if they qualify you know, based on their income, household size. So, we’re encouraging parents you know, to continue to do that and if they haven’t and are suffering the struggles or whatever, financially or whatever to go online and fill out the application,” said food service supervisor, Rich Luze.

School officials added that all students will be served lunch regardless of ability to pay.