Traditionally, the students paid for meals using paper food stamps purchased by their parents at the municipal office, which the children then carried to school. A student handed a single food stamp over for each meal received at the cafeteria.
That process, however, was time-consuming for school personnel, who had to take the stamps from students and count them. If any question arose regarding whether a child was eligible for a meal (for instance, if he claimed to have lost his food stamp), the school opted to simply provide him with food. In addition, because the schools didn't know exactly how many lunch-buying students were present on a given day, they often purchased excess food, which was then discarded.
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