HCSD Offering Free School Meals to All Children

HCSD Offering Free School Meals to All Children

(HARRISON COUNTY, MS) Harrison County School District is excited to announce that starting September 9, 2020, every school in HCSD will be offering universal free meals to all children ages 18 and under. This applies to students who are learning at school, virtually, as well as children who are not enrolled in the district. 

On September 8, 2020, the Harrison County School Board approved the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent extension of the Summer Food Service Program through the fall semester. HCSD is proud to be one of the first school districts in Mississippi to offer the program to help ensure that no child in the community goes hungry during this pandemic.

In addition to regular meal service for traditional students, all school sites in HCSD will be open daily from 10:00-11:00 am for free meal pickups. Parents/guardians can pick up breakfast and lunch packages from any HCSD school campus, at no cost, regardless of family income or school enrollment status. There is no application or requirements to participate.

HCSD parents/guardians whose children are enrolled virtually do not need to have children present in the vehicle. Households with multiple virtual learners may continue to pick up all student meals at one location. For parents/guardians whose children are not enrolled in HCSD, children must be present in the vehicle during meal pickups.

In the past, USDA has offered free meals during the summer months when school was not in session. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA launched the free grab-and-go meals program in March and has now extended it in HCSD from September 9 through December 31, 2020, or until funds run out.

"Following the school shut down in late March, HCSD immediately rolled out the Summer Food Service Program due to our experience with this USDA program. Since then, about 300,000 free summer meals were served and a hybrid school reopening model was implemented in August utilizing an array of available USDA waivers to provide meals in classrooms and to virtual learning students,” said HCSD Child Nutrition Director Brad Barlow.

"We are pleased to once again serve free summer meals, but now, during the fall semester. We hope by removing the application process for free or reduced-price meals, more households will trust our dedicated team of child nutrition professionals to serve their children hot and delicious meals." Click here to learn more about the updated HCSD food service health and safety procedures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQWfBSC5IjI

Parents who have uploaded funds to their student’s meal account are being asked not to add any more funds at this time. Any money currently in their child’s account can be used to buy extra meal items or can be applied to meals during the spring semester.

Families with questions regarding the program may call the HCSD Child Nutrition Department during regular business hours at (228) 539-6516.

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Click here for additional information regarding the USDA program: https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/08/31/usda-extends-free-meals-kids-through-december-31-2020.

Click here to watch the WLOX News story: https://www.wlox.com/2020/09/09/harrison-co-school-district-providing-free-meals-all-coast-students/

Click here to watch the WXXV News story: https://www.wxxv25.com/2020/09/09/harrison-county-school-district-offering-free-meals-students/