ACS providing free meals to all students

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter 

ALABASTER – Alabaster City Schools is now providing free meals to all students until at least until Dec. 3, thanks to a new waiver from the USDA.

“Throughout the pandemic, Alabaster City Schools have been committed to feeding our children,” said ACS Child Nutrition Director Heather McDermott. “This will provide meals to all children, whether they are learning in the classroom or learning virtually.”

Children attending any school in the Alabaster City School system will have access to breakfast and lunch at the schools, regardless of whether the students qualify for free meals.

Parents or guardians of students doing virtual-only learning will have access to “five breakfast and lunch meals at Thompson High School, on Wednesday from 8:30-9:30 a.m. to last them the full week,” McDermott said.

While the service is being offered to all students’ parents will need to complete a free and reduced meal application to avoid a lapse in coverage after the program is completed.

This move was made possible after the USDA announced on Aug. 31 that it would extend flexibilities that allow schools to operates their free meal programs. It is designed to ensure that children continue to have access to meals during the pandemic.

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