USDA program allows students free lunch for remainder of year


Natalie Shearman

The Highlands cafeteria staff posted an announcement about free lunches for the rest of the school year.

     With COVID-19 causing financial problems around the country, many are struggling to pay for necessities like bills and groceries. At the same time, many students are forced to buy lunch daily, causing more money to be spent.

     Middle and high school students in Kentucky returned to in-person learning on January 4, 2021. Due to financial issues around the country and the additional burden of buying lunch, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a program in early October 2020 that covers the cost of school lunches, allowing students to have one complimentary lunch per day for the rest of the school year. 

     This program allows the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option to be served in all areas at no cost to students and also allows parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children, even if they’re learning remotely. 

     Fort Thomas Independent Schools is one of the many school districts participating in the USDA free lunch program. The district follows what the program intends to do and helps lessen the financial problems for the students and their families. However, if students want to have drinks other than milk, snacks, or an à la carte item, they must pay for that cost themselves.

     Remote learners and community members can pick up lunch as well, either at the middle or high school. Lunches can be picked up from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. by the gym doors at either building. 

     Throughout the year 2020, COVID-19 has caused the United States’ economy to drop drastically. Many workers and employees lost their jobs or fur loaded and were forced to apply for unemployment. With one or both of a family’s parents/guardians being unemployed, students who usually buy their lunch may have a hard time paying off their lunch fees. But with the USDA lunch program, they don’t have to have to worry about paying for their lunch. 

     The free lunch program will last from January 4 to June 1.