School lunch

Avery County Schools will benefit from an extension of s{span}ummer meal programs can continue operating as funding allows, according to an announcement on August 31 by the US Department of Agriculture.{/span}

NEWLAND — The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended funding and flexibility on Aug. 31 that will allow Avery County Schools to serve free meals to all children in the county regardless of income or school enrollment.

According to the USDA, the program will be funded through Dec. 31.

“Avery County Schools Child Nutrition is very excited to share the news with the school community that USDA has passed the waivers to allow us to feed our children breakfast and lunch for FREE through Dec. 31, 2020,” Avery County Schools announced on its social media page on August 31. “Please take advantage of this wonderful program for your children.”

According to ACS, parents with children in virtual school can call their child’s school by 9 a.m. and order their meal, and parents can do a drive-through pick up each weekday besides Wednesday, as Wednesday meals are packed out together on Tuesday.

“If you have not already, we still need you to fill out your free and reduced meal application,” ACS also announced. “This is so important to your school. It determines your school funding for teachers and grants. You can do this online at www.lunchapplication.com. It takes about five minutes to fill this out. Please encourage your child to eat in the cafeteria, this is a benefit for your family and for your school.”

“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,” Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. “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.”

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