USDA free school lunch program extension benefits schools in the Shoals

Updated: May. 5, 2021 at 8:39 PM CDT
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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - The United States Department of Agriculture is extending universal free lunch through the 2021-2022 school year.

One in four children across the Shoals suffer from food insecurity.

“It’s going to help our students and families because we still have families that are struggling and this has been a great program for them,” said Lori Ferguson.

With USDA food waivers being extended until June 30th, 2022 for children in schools across the nation, Lori Ferguson with Lauderdale County school district said this means fewer children will go hungry.

“This program has really helped us because we aren’t worried about taking their money. We’re just focused on providing [students] with the best nutrition that we possibly can,” said Ferguson.

These waivers also make school meals more flexible. Kids can eat outside of normal school mealtimes and parents can also pick up food curbside for students learning virtually. Ferguson said this extension gives families one less thing to worry about.

“We have so many families that have lost their jobs, or in transition, or have been out due to sickness or various reasons and I think it’s very comforting for our families to know that their child will get a nutritious breakfast and lunch and they won’t have to worry about the financial aspect of it,” said Ferguson.

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