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USDA Extends Fund that Allows Watauga County Schools to Serve Free Meals to All Students

On Monday, Aug. 31, the USDA extended funding and flexibility that will allow Watauga County Schools to serve free meals to all children in the county regardless of income or school enrollment.

Meal distribution will operate similarly to how the district served meals over the summer but each school in the county will be open as a meal distribution site. Each school in Watauga will serve lunch and a packed breakfast for the next day from Noon to 1 p.m. in a drive through line every weekday.

According to the USDA, the program will be funded through December 31 of 2020.

Over the summer, Watauga County Schools’ Child Nutrition team was able to serve 250,000 meals at its drive-thru pick up sites, but the funding and flexibility that allowed the operation to continue was curtailed at the start of the school year.

Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott expressed his gratitude that the USDA chose to extend the period of increased flexibility for schools. 

“I am grateful to the USDA and Secretary Perdue for extending the waivers that allow us to provide free meals to all our children,” Elliott said. “Many families in our community continue to struggle financially and many children need these meals. We look forward to continuing this program and encourage all families to participate and support the program.”