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School Districts Offering Free Meals

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The USDA is extending summer nutrition programs across the nation until December 31 or when funding runs out.

This extension will provide thousands of free meals for students. Overton County Schools Nutrition Program Supervisor Patty Dale said this extension will help a lot of families.

“The way that it read is free meals until December 31 or until funds run out, which is a little bit scary,” Dale said. “I think they will probably extend that, I hope, in December that they’ll extend it for the rest of the school year.”

Dale said between March and July, Overton Schools served over 218,000 meals, averaging 55,000 a month. She said she hopes that average number will remain steady through the school year.

The school system used the Seamless Summer Option the past few months to provide meals. During August this year, nearly 6,000 breakfasts and over 11,000 lunches were served.

“I know that just due to part of the students being on virtual and then part of them going to school, our numbers had gone way down,” Dale said. “We weren’t serving as many as we did last August, we didn’t serve as many meals.”

Dale said there were many students who qualified for reduced meals this year or did not qualify at all.

Funding comes through a USDA reimbursement system. Dale said the school pays for the meals up front, count how many meals were distributed, and send the information to the USDA for reimbursement.


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