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Wind River Reservation School District Offers Free Lunches To Families Hit By Shutdown

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Flickr Creative Commons/Meal Makeover Moms
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Three schools on the Wind River Reservation are offering free lunches to people affected by the government shutdown.

Owen Saint Claire, the superintendent of Fremont County School District 14, said more than a thousand people on the Wind River reservation are not getting their paycheck right now.

"A lot of our community members that work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is a government agency, they haven't been working since December," St. Clair said. "We've got people who work at our Indian Health Services who are furloughed workers so they're working but they're not getting paid. And so, if they can get some time off at lunch to come have a free lunch, we'll take care of them as well."

St. Clair said to get a free meal, people should call the school they're interested in attending, either elementary, middle or high school, and the cooks will add them to the list. He said, if they want, while they're there, they can spend some time volunteering in classrooms.

"They put a lot of hard work in as parents, and it's not their fault the government is shutdown," said St. Clair. "So, this is the least we can do to help them out, at least try to get a meal in their system. Possibly spend a day in the school with their children as well. See how school operates because they're usually at work during this time."

St. Clair said the district is using some emergency funds they have set aside to fund the free lunch program.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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