Free lunch program available to all students

Hannah Fiume, Social Media Editor

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Aug. 31 the decision to offer free lunch and breakfast to all public school children. This is in response to how the pandemic is affecting children and the importance of offering nutritious meals no matter the situation a student might be in. As of now, this program will be in effect through Dec. 31 of this year. 

“The program covers a regular breakfast and/or lunch. Ala carte items are for purchase. All students are eligible and the program will run through the end of the calendar year. If a student that leaves for open lunch wanted to grab one on the way out they could absolutely do that,” assistant principal Jen Stewart said.

Stewart believes the district has had a smooth transition into the new program. The school is preparing as much as they can for upcoming weeks.

“We supplied our COO [Chief Operating Officer] Steve Wood with exact numbers of students in the buildings on Blue and Gold days to help prepare and prep. June Smetts, our kitchen director, has been reviewing data of how many lunches are distributed and that helps determine ordering and prep for the following week. The district is happy to help our families and will always adjust accordingly to do what’s best for students, “ Stewart said. “We will continue to inform students and families of any updates we receive  from the USDA and if there will be any kind of extension past Dec. 31.”.

The USDA had been providing free meals for students during the summer, when many parents were out of work and when some families were unable to leave the house for something as simple as groceries. This extension of the Congressionally funded program is available to kids across the country.

“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy, and nutritious food. During the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA has provided an unprecedented amount of flexibilities to help schools feed kids through the school meal programs, and today, we are also extending summer meal program flexibilities for as long as we can, legally and financially, “ U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in an interview. “We appreciate the incredible efforts by our school foodservice professionals year in and year out, but this year we have an unprecedented situation. This extension of summer program authority will employ summer program sponsors to ensure meals are reaching all children – whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually – so they are fed and ready to learn, even in new and ever-changing learning environments.”

Many students believe that this program will benefit a lot of people. 

Junior Nick Archer said, “I think the whole free lunch thing is a good thing because now everyone can get lunch if they want and they can spend money on other things they need.” 

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