R-1 students to receive free breakfast, lunch

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 9/16/20

VIENNA — All students at the Maries R-1 School District in Vienna will eat breakfast and lunch for free until the end of the first semester.

The school district was notified Friday it …

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R-1 students to receive free breakfast, lunch

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VIENNA — All students at the Maries R-1 School District in Vienna will eat breakfast and lunch for free until the end of the first semester.

The school district was notified Friday it qualified for the no cost breakfast and lunch for all students under a USDA federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The free meals are an extension of the waiver the school district had for free summer school meals, which were delivered to students at sites throughout the school district. The waiver has been extended to Dec. 31. For R-1 students, the free meals began Monday, Sept. 14.

Superintendent Mark Parker said if students have lunch money remaining in their lunch accounts at school, the money will remain there until lunches paid for by students begins again.

Parents who owe money on their children’s lunch bills are encouraged to please pay for what they owe.

Parker explained how the district counts its lunch participation by trays. They delineate the trays into three categories—free lunches, reduced lunches, and student-paid lunches. These numbers are sent to USDA and funding is based on them. Because of the waiver of all lunches being free to students, all student trays will be counted. “We count them and submit it and get payment,” he said. They will continue to submit the same paperwork but will be reimbursed for all food trays taken by students.

Parker and cafeteria workers anticipate more participation because of the free breakfast and lunches. Currently about 30 percent of the students bring their lunch or don’t eat nor participate in the school lunch program. He hopes they begin to eat the school breakfast and lunch because its good for them to eat a healthy meal. Parker said they hope they get enough money to support the school’s cafeteria program because they will be serving more meals.

The school district encourages families to fill out the free and reduced applications because the waiver is until Dec. 31. After that date, students who apply may be able to stay on the free or reduced lunch program. It also is possible the waiver will be extended to the end of the school year into 2021.

This is part of national efforts to support schools and students during the COVID-19 coronavirus global pandemic.

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