Jeanie Miller, Patricia Buckner

Jeanie Miller and Patricia Buckner help with making mashed potatoes for student meals on April 10.

BOONE — The USDA recently further 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 for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, Watauga County Schools announced Oct. 15.

Meal distribution will continue to operate in the same way 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 1-1:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Wednesday. Watauga High School will only have curbside pickup on Wednesdays. No meal service will be offered on Election Day (Nov. 3).

According to the USDA, the program will be funding through June 2021. During the summer, Watauga County Schools’ child nutrition team served 250,000 meals at its drive-thru pick up sites. WCS cafeterias have continued to operate as food hubs, serving more than 16,000 meals to all children in their communities since the start of the school year.

Superintendent Scott Elliott said he was grateful for the funding that will allow the school system to feed children free of charge for the remainder of the school year.

“Since schools closed at the start of the pandemic, we’ve done everything possible to ensure that our students and families in our communities could have a meal they could rely on at our schools,” Elliott said. “So many of our families are still facing immense difficulties and hardships stemming from the pandemic, so we are so pleased to be able to continue servicing free meals for the remainder of the school year.”

Elliott strongly encouraged all families to support school cafeterias by taking advantage of the free meals.

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(1) comment



These kids ought to be pullin' themselves up by their bootstraps, not gettin' free handouts!

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