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Free Lunch Service Open to All Students Starting October 1

The Cleburne ISD Child Nutrition program has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for participation in a new federal and state initiative to provide free lunch service for all students beginning October 1.

                No-cost breakfast service has been available to CISD students for several years. This new initiative, which is slated to run through December 31, will allow for free lunch service at all campuses. Remote Learning students who participate in take-out meal service are included.   

                Child Nutrition Director Kim Chance said that while free meals will be available through the fall, eligible families are encouraged to apply for the federal free/reduced lunch program for the 2020-21 school year. The online application is posted on the Child Nutrition page of the CISD website.

               “This new program is only in effect through the end of December,” Chance said. “I’m sure nearly every school district in the state and nation is applying, so the funds designated for this program will go quickly. We encourage parents who believe they meet the federal free/reduced lunch program household income guidelines to submit applications, so that service will be in place for their children when the free lunch option ends.”

                “We were very pleased to receive this opportunity from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” Chance said. “This is in the best interest of students and families. These are hard times for many of our households, due to the impact of the Coronavirus. By making this available, all students will have free access to two nutritious meals five days a week. This is good for children.”

                Students at Adams, Santa Fe, Irving and C.C. Cooke elementary schools have had free breakfast and lunch available to them since the start of school through the Community Eligibility Provision initiative administered by the National School Lunch Program and the Texas Department of Agriculture. Application for CEP is available to campuses determined to be located in low-income areas.

                The new districtwide free lunch service will include all options, from the traditional “tray” served at elementary campuses to the variety of menu items available at the high school. Specialty items such as ice cream, juices and second servings will have to be purchased.

                While campuses were closed from March 13 to the start of school the new school year, CISD child nutrition staff remained on the job preparing and providing free breakfast and lunch for children 18 and under, served curbside at meal sites located at Cooke, Irving and Smith Middle School.

                “We are very appreciative of the USDA and the Texas Education Agency, who have continued to work with school districts to ensure every child has access to free breakfast, and now lunch, while at school,” Superintendent Dr. Kyle Heath said. “These are difficult times for many of our families as jobs, incomes and finances continue to be impacted by COVID-19. This new initiative is a tremendous tool in meeting the needs of students. It’s very hard to focus on learning when you are hungry.”