Trump's executive order could affect SCS student meals

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - President Donald Trump took a step to expand work requirements for certain welfare recipients.

On Tuesday, the president signed the "Reducing Poverty in America" executive order. He is asking for welfare programs--from food stamps to Medicaid to housing programs--to be reviewed and proposed new regulations, such as work requirements.

This could have impacts in the Mid-South.

For 50 years, Shelby County Schools has ensured children in lower-income areas continue to receive healthy meals while out on summer break.

Those meals are delivered to organizations across the district who provide summer activities for  SCS students ages 18 and younger.

"We have a lot of kids that depend on this program during the summer months," Calvin Johnson, director for School Operations for Nutrition Services for SCS, said.

Johnson oversees the district's breakfast and lunch programs in addition to the summer feeding program. He estimates right now that 60,000-80,000 students rely on the district for breakfast and at least 90,000 for lunch.

"Hopefully this service that we can provide will not be impacted as much as received to be at this point," Johnson said.

For 36 years in this role, Johnson's kept an eye on what's happening in Washington, knowing the decisions made in our nation's capital affect the students he feeds.

For now, it's his hope that the program won't be impacted by the president's executive order.

"If there are tighter restrictions on who can actually qualify, it would impact a number of sites that we can offer or the number of people that would be eligible to receive a free meal during the summer," Johnson said.

Being a welfare participant is not a requirement to participate in SCS's breakfast, lunch, or summer program. The concern is that the executive order could lessen the funding to provide this program.

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