Floyd County Schools student lunches will be free through the end of the calendar year because of extended meal service flexibilities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“These new USDA flexibilities recognize that many families are struggling who do not meet its free and reduced-price meal program’s income guidelines,” Child Nutrition Director Donna Carver said. “We’re grateful for this federal support to provide relief to families who need a helping hand during this challenging time to ensure their children are fed.”

The end date for the free lunches will be dependent on available funding. At this point, school officials believe the program will last at least through Dec. 31. Breakfast is already served to all students free of charge.

There are no application or income eligibility requirements for this federally funded temporary relief program.

However, the school system is encouraging families to complete the free and reduced lunch form so it will be already on file when the program ends.

The USDA funding is retroactive to Sept. 1, and all meals charged since then will be credited back to student accounts by the end of the month, to use for future meals, according to arelease from FCS.

If an unpaid balance for meals was incurred since the funding start date, that balance will be waived. Fees will be charged for additional services such as second helpings and a la carte extras like chips, cookies and waters.

These free meals are available to in-person students as well as the school system’s virtual academy and quarantined students, who order a week of to-go meals on Thursdays for Friday pick-up.

The to-go meal order form is emailed and texted on Thursday mornings and due at 9 a.m. every Friday. The free meals are also available to children who are not yet school age that accompany their parent to meal pick up.

All FCS families should complete the online application for free or reduced-price meals at www.schoolcafe.com/floydcounty by Friday, September 25.

This approval will be needed to receive free and reduced-price meals after the temporary program providing free meals to all students ends. Qualifying for free and reduced-price meals also provides other assistance for students such as scholarships, ACT and SAT test vouchers, and reduced-price internet at home.

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