Nordonia Hills students will continue getting free meals

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
A line of buses awaits for food loading at Nordonia High School during the last school year, after schools were ordered closed. The district's students can take advantage of free breakfast and lunch at the district for at least a part of this school year.

When students return to school Sept. 8, they can take advantage of a free breakfast or lunch, provided through funding from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Superintendent Joe Clark said that Food and Nutrition Service is allowing the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option to continue to operate through Dec. 31 or until funds run out.

This program is open to those students who are in the buildings. The district's Knights Caring for Knights program "will continue to serve the people they serve, even if they are on the remote plan."

"Allowing operation of SFSP/SSO through Dec, 31, 2020 facilitates the safe provision of meals by eliminating the need to collect meal payments, including cash payments, at meal sites, which speeds up service of meals, thereby reducing contact and potential exposure to COVID–19," Clark stated in a message sent to district families Friday. 

For the meal to be covered, Clark said, students must select a meal containing at least three of the five components that make up a federally approved lunch (meat/meat alternative, vegetable, fruit, grain/bread and milk), and at least three of the four components of a federally approved breakfast (grains, juice/fruit/vegetable and milk). Extras and second lunches are not free.

Even with the extension of SFSP and SSO, families are still encouraged to complete a free and reduced lunch application if they qualify, Clark said.

For one reason, those who qualify for free or reduced lunch will have school fees waived or reduced.

Also, the district’s federal Title 1 funding is based on its free and reduced lunch count; the more who qualify for free or reduced lunches, the higher the amount of federal funding the district will collect.

In addition, if the funding runs out sooner than Dec. 31, or if the program doesn't continue past that date, it will benefit families to have their application in place.