Free meals for children

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  • Hilliard Middle-Senior High School Food Service Assistant Tonia Crawford and School Safety Officer William Schmelling distribute meals in May. Curbside distribution temporarily ceased in August, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture reinstated free meals for all children ages 1-18. Curbside distribution occurs in Nassau on Tuesdays and in the school cafeterias daily for children attending class on campus.
    Hilliard Middle-Senior High School Food Service Assistant Tonia Crawford and School Safety Officer William Schmelling distribute meals in May. Curbside distribution temporarily ceased in August, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture reinstated free meals for all children ages 1-18. Curbside distribution occurs in Nassau on Tuesdays and in the school cafeterias daily for children attending class on campus.
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Free breakfast and lunch are available for all Nassau County children, regardless of school attendance. Curbside pickup is available on Tuesdays for those who are not eating in a school cafeteria. 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the offerings in August.

“This unprecedented move will help ensure – no matter what the situation is on-the-ground – children have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Children attending classroom instruction within the Nassau County School District receive free breakfast and lunch daily at area schools. Those attending virtually and other Nassau County children ages 1-18 may receive prepackaged food once a week on Tuesdays at area schools. Parents or guardians can preorder the meal packages online or simply show up. According to an information sheet from the school district, preordering is “highly encouraged to allow the pickup process to run smoothly and quickly and for the school to be properly prepared.” However, no child will be denied access. The form is available at https://www.nassau.k12.fl.us/foodservice. 

Children do not have to be present at the curbside service, but if they are not in the vehicle, documentation for the children must be shown on the first visit, such as student ID, child’s passport, adoption decree, daycare record or other proof.

Curbside pickup is only available on Tuesdays, with pickup at Callahan and Bryceville elementary schools from 9 to 9:30 a.m., Hilliard Middle-Senior High School and Yulee High School from 4 to 4:30 p.m. and Fernandina Beach Middle School from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy and nutritious food. 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,” said Perdue. 

“We appreciate the incredible efforts by our school food service professionals year in and year out, but this year we have an unprecedented situation. This extension of summer program authority will employ summer program sponsors to ensure meals are reaching all children – whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually – so they are fed and ready to learn, even in new and ever-changing learning environments.”

The summer meal program waiver extensions are based on current data estimations. Over the past six months, partners across the country have manned nearly 80,000 sites, handing out meals at a higher reimbursement rate than the traditional school year program. The USDA has continuously recalculated remaining appropriated funds to determine how far it may be able to provide waivers into the future, as 

Congress did not authorize enough funding for the entire 2020-21 school year and the program will only continue as congressional appropriations are available. The USDA will continue to actively monitor this rapidly evolving situation and keep Congress informed of its abilities and limitations.

For additional information regarding the Nassau County School District’s meal distributions, call 904-491-9924 or visit https://www.nassau.k12.fl.us/foodservice.