USDA EXTENDS FREE MEALS FOR CHILDREN THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended flexibility in school food service programs through the end of December, which means all school-age students at the eligible schools below will receive free meals (both breakfast and lunch) regardless if they qualify for benefits.
The USDA is federally funding this program, which is an extension of the Summer Feeding Program. During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, from March to May, Walton County distributed 236,982 meals to approximately 4,500 children a week during an eight-week period. Now with the extension of this program, over 80,000 school sites have applied and been accepted, including Walton County. The USDA hopes this unprecedented move will help ensure no matter what situation, children will have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and parents may be affected with work interruptions and increased financial hardships.
Dune Lakes Elementary
Emerald Coast Middle
Maude Saunders Elementary
South Walton High
Van R. Butler Elementary
West DeFuniak Elementary
Free meals begin on Monday, September 21, for both brick and mortar schools & Innovative Learning Digital Academy (ILDA) students. For brick and mortar, students are required to scan lunch cards, or Point of Sale operators must enter student numbers at point of service. Even though the meals are free, tracking meal service counts will allow us to file for claim reimbursements. In addition to free breakfasts and lunches, schools may still have a la carte items, such as ice cream, for a small fee. ILDA students must reserve their food online by Friday to secure items for five breakfasts and five lunches per student for the following week. Reservation forms are found on our district’s ILDA webpage (https://www.walton.k12.fl.us/Innovative-Learning-Digital-Academy). ILDA students may have their packaged weekly meals picked up by parents at the school sites.
It is still EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, and families MUST continue to apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits even though meals are free through December. Because these forms impact educational funding and the program will end in December, having an application on file for the current school year will help our district and eliminate families’ benefit disruptions in January. If your child has a current positive balance, please know we will hold your balance until January.
The Walton County School District (WCSD) is very excited about this opportunity in providing such a great benefit to our children, and we encourage all students to participate! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your school or the district’s Food Service department at 850.892.1100, ext. 1361.