Free meals will be offered to local children in the Steelville School District beginning next week. On Friday, September 11, Steelville Schools Superintendent Mike Whittaker announced the district had received word that it qualifies for the “Free Meals for All Students” program. The program falls under the USDA, which announced the extension of the summer meal programs in order to continue to serve free meals to all children into the fall months, as funding allows.
“This is great for our students and families as it eliminates the cost for school breakfast and lunch,” Whittaker said. “It will also enable us to provide meals in the event that we are forced to close school and move to virtual learning due to a COVID-19 related outbreak.”
All students may receive their breakfasts and lunches at no cost. In order for the meal to be free, breakfasts must contain one serving each of milk, of a fruit or vegetable or 100-percent juice, and a grain or bread, and lunches must include one serving of milk, two servings of a fruit or vegetable or 100-percent juice, one serving of a grain or bread, and one serving of meat or a meat alternate. If a student just wants a single component of the meal, they will still be charged for that item.
Whittaker reported the meals will remain free until funding runs out or until December 31, whichever comes first. Families who normally receive free or reduced meals at school will still need to complete and submit those forms to the school (if they have not done so already) in order to be able to continue on that program once this one has ended.
Also, beginning on Monday, September 21, the district will begin offering Grab'N'Go style meals for children in the community who are not attending in-person classes. The tentative plans are to offer these meals for pick-up at the Steelville Middle School campus on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 to 10:30 a.m. On Mondays, children will receive two breakfasts and two lunches, and on Wednesdays, children will receive three breakfasts and three lunches. The Grab'N'Go meals will require refrigeration and will not necessarily be the same meals that are served to in-person students.
The Steelville School District will also be considered an open site. This means that any child under the age of 18 is eligible to receive meals at no cost.