School District Broadens Free Meal Program to All

October 16, 2020

The school district broadened its free meal program to every student.

Now all students are able to receive free breakfast and lunch no matter if they are in school or in Digital Academy.

Meals are also available for students to take home by filling out the pre-order form on the district’s webpage.

Helen Heidler is the general manager of school nutrition at Susquehannock.

“Three breakfast meals are going home Monday and Thursday and three lunch meals are going home Tuesday and Friday,” said Heidler. “These meals are given to students when they leave for the day.”

There are many breakfast options for students to choose from. Photograph by Jacob Stroh

 

Approximately 400 students in total are utilizing the free meal program.

This graph shows the number of students and the total number of meals being picked up.

That is approximately 2850 meals being served each week.

“Monday curbside pick up has increased dramatically since the beginning of the program,” said Heidler.

Many students, such as freshman Cristina Mikesell, have taken advantage of the program and its benefits.

Mikesell said, “The program helps out my family a lot, and not having to spend money repeatedly.” “I think the program is very convenient and can help lots of different families and help with the extra step.”

Parents are also greatly appreciative of the extension of the program.

“Many parents have expressed their appreciation and thanks for the meals. A common quote is, ‘you have no idea how much this helps,’” said Heidler.

Congress passed a bill that authorizes the USDA to extend the National School Lunch Program through June 30, 2021. In an interview with the USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue expressed how important it was that children are still receiving healthy meals.

 Marie Stankowski serves breakfast to a student. Photograph by Jacob Stroh

“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy and nutritious food,” said Perdue. “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.”

As free meals continue to be offered, Heidler urges students to make use of the opportunity.

“I really wish more students would take advantage of the free meals program,” said Heidler. “It benefits the food service department tremendously and also, the food service employees in each building.”

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