The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a plan to provide free meals to students through the end of the year.
About one in every eight American children suffer from hunger, according to the USDA. And with many of those children not in the classrooms during the pandemic, it is tough to even identify who they are.
The program, which starts Wednesday, allows for all school children, even those who do not normally qualify for free or reduced meals, to receive breakfast and lunch. The program applies whether students are learning in person or virtually.
Students’ accounts will not be charged through the end of the year. The program is being paid for through CARES Act dollars.
All school-aged children can receive up to 10 meals per week at no cost.
Chris Passarge, chief operations officer for Lakota Local School District, said this program will do a lot for families who are struggling because of the pandemic.
“I had a meeting with the team this morning. They're excited, they're excited about the opportunity to serve more kids potentially,” Passarge said. “So anytime that we can help families out, get kids engaged into our lunch program, give a nutritious meal, we're happy about that.”
The temporary program will run through Dec. 31.
Students who would normally qualify for free or reduced-cost meals are encouraged to apply as they normally would for next year by Nov. 1.
Click here for more information on the USDA program.