On September 13, Brown County Schools announced that free breakfast and lunch will be offered to all students in the corporation, regardless if students qualify for free or reduced lunch. The program is a part of SFSP (Summer Food Service Program), a federally-funded, state-administered program “who serve free healthy meals… to children and teens in low-income areas,” (fns.usda.gov)
Brown County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Laura Hammack, stated that due to COVID-19. “…the federal government allowed us to use SFSP while we were still shut down (from the end of March to the end of July).” When the traditional school year started in August, BCS, along with other schools around the nation, rolled with the idea that the same free food services would continue to be offered to all students despite their paid, reduced, or free lunch status, primarily due to the financial burdens COVID-19 brought upon families. “The (federal government) thought about it, and it took a couple of weeks, but then at the end of last week we were finally able to implement the program… it’s truly one of the silver linings of the pandemic,” Hammack added.
Ala carte items, however, are still offered at full price for students with money in their accounts.
According to Students for Equity communications director, Abby Padgett, “Everyone, regardless of who they are, having access to free school lunch and breakfast is a huge step towards equity in Brown County Schools.” BCS Food Service Director, Don Hymer added, “I think it will definitely help out the parents, at least for the next few months.”
The program will last until the end of the calendar year, December 31, or until federal funding is exhausted.