The Wentzville School District has announced that it will provide free meals for all students in the District beginning October 1, through December 31, 2020, or until available federal funding runs out. The meals are being provided regardless of eligibility as a result of the extension of waivers by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) related to the Seamless Summer Option program. This includes children ages 1-18 who reside in the Wentzville School District boundaries but are not enrolled in a WSD school.
Typically, the USDA provides reimbursements to school districts in order to provide free or reduced-price meals for students who qualify based on their family’s household income. The waivers related to income qualification that were implemented earlier this year are being extended as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and in light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy and nutritious food,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release announcing the extended waivers on August 31. “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.”
Between March and June this year, the WSD Child Nutrition department prepared and distributed over 53,000 meals for students following the District closure due to the pandemic, partially funded through the Seamless Summer Option program.
“We are thrilled to extend our summer meal program and provide free meals for all children in our District,” said Child Nutrition Director Gwen Doyle. “We know that the pandemic has affected many of our families in a variety of ways and if we can help those families and provide nutritious meals for more kids, we are excited and happy to provide that.”
For more information about the program and when and where eligible residents can pick up meals, visit the WSD website.