Published: Jan 05, 2011 3:46 AM EST
Updated: Jan 05, 2011 12:46 AM EST

LEE COUNTY, FL - Lee county school district officials started a new program in 2011. One that few believed would ever be necessary. District officials say they will no longer be able to afford to give free school lunches to students whose parents skip out on paying up. A spokesperson for the school system says the district has absorbed more than 130 thousand dollars in delinquent lunch fees in the last couple of years. Bottom line, school employees didn't want to see kids go hungry, so even if there was no money in the child's lunch account, they gave them a meal anyway. An audit showed the district was losing, on average, 2 thousand dolllars a week this year alone. Spokesperson, Joe Donzelli said the practice had to stop. Now, kids who are not on a free lunch program and who don't have funds in their account will receive a cheese sandwich and a 4 ounce container of juice for lunch. That's it. No matter what the meal of the day is. The hope is parents will start to work with school officials to keep funds in their child's account. Donzelli says he understands that these are trying times and hopes parents who are struggling will come forward and get help that is readily available.