SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Savannah-Chatham County Public School (SCCPSS) officials recently announced all students will have access to free meals this school year.
“All students, regardless of your income, will have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast and lunch at no cost,” SCCPSS Deputy Superintendent Vanessa Miller-Kaigler said.
Meals are being provided free of charge to help families in the district struggling with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no eligibility requirements or registration forms.
“Of course, we would love for as many families as possible to take advantage of it,” SCCPSS Nutrition Coordinator Dorothy Dupree told WSAV News 3. “I think it will take a little bit of time for families to make that pivot. We do have a lot of kids that do like to bring their lunch from home.”
“Even if you bring your lunch from home, you can always come and get milk and fruit and vegetables with us,” she added. “That still counts as a reimbursable meal.”
Dupree says a variety of breakfast and lunch options will be available for students. Menus will be posted online ahead of time.
“If we can take one less burden off of them, that’s a win for us,” Dupree said. “It’s one less thing for them to have to worry about as kids are transitioning back to being in-person, five days a week.”
The effort is supported by USDA federal funding designated for pandemic relief. Dupree says there is a chance the program could extend beyond the 2022 school year.
“There are a lot of senators and congresspeople pushing for bills to have universal meals free to all students,” she said. “So maybe that will get some traction and will be something we see going forward.”
Students who opted into virtual learning will also have access to free meals through the district’s delivery system on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.