Beginning on September 21, Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District (VSCSD) will continue participating in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) that the USDA recently extended. This program will run through December 31, 2020, or until funds have been entirely depleted.
As it is uncertain when the funding will be discontinued, this will be a fluid process. Our goal is to communicate any changes with our district families as soon as possible.
At this time, all VSCSD students under the age of 18 will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch. VSCSD Food Service Director, Karen Ackman encourages all families to take advantage of these free meals this fall. “With the meals being provided at no cost to families, I hope it offers the chance to feel a sense of financial relief while offering security that children are being fed.”
The district will serve students attending classes on-site in all buildings. Students participating in virtual learning will have access to pick up meals at a designated district building, once a procedure has been established for all grade levels.
When funds run out, the National School Breakfast and School Lunch Programs will be put back in place, and students will be charged according to their eligibility. For now, free meals will be the only option for lunches served at school though students may bring their own lunch from home if they prefer.
FREE MEALS Q&A
How are students getting free meals?
The USDA has extended a waiver that allows all children to eat for free during COVID-19 shutdowns that began in March 2020. Foodservice directors in school districts across the state completed applications to continue this program.
Do teachers/support staff get free meals?
No. The VSCSD food service department is a children’s nutrition program, so the USDA free meal waiver only covers student meals. Teachers and support staff can purchase adult meals at the cost of $4 each.
What about the money already on student accounts?
Money that has already been deposited stays on in the student account. The free meal waiver has only been extended through December 31, 2020, or upon depleting the entire fund. Beginning January 1, 2021, all families will again be charged meal fees based on their free/reduced/paid status.
All additional purchase options like snack, milk, a la carte, and extras will still be available for students to purchase through the family’s meal account as usual. Current lunch status benefits will not apply to these extras, and students must have a positive meal account balance to make a purchase.
If a student has a negative balance, it is encouraged and allowed that money is added to student’s account until the balance becomes even or positive.
Do I still need to fill out my student’s free or reduced meal application?
Yes. It is essential to complete a free and reduced meal application to determine a family’s free, reduced, or paid status once the USDA free meal waiver expires.
Please contact Karen Ackman with any additional questions or concerns regarding student meal accounts by calling (31) 436-5848 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.