Tallmadge schools provide free meals for all students through end of 2020

USDA extends summer meal program through Dec. 31

Laura Freeman
Kent Weeklies
All remote learners, kindergarteners and preschoolers are eligible to receive 14 meals (7 breakfasts and 7 lunches) weekly. They can be picked up at Tallmadge Elementary School from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

TALLMADGE – Students, whether learning in-person or online, will not go hungry.

The Ohio Department of Education with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved free breakfasts and lunches for all students when they are in school or learning at home.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA extended its free food program and has offered exemption to all students regardless of their financial situation.

It is the same program Tallmadge schools offered to its families all summer long and it has now been extended to Dec. 31, said Steve Wood, chief operating officer.

“It’s an awesome way to help our families in terms of convenience and those who are struggling economically and will make their life easier to get meals,” Wood said. “No one who comes through our lines [in school] is paying for lunch.”

The plan was announced Sept. 10 and students stopped paying for lunches Sept. 14, Wood said. The first pick-up of meals is Sept. 24.

All remote learners, kindergarteners and preschoolers are eligible to receive 14 meals (seven breakfasts and seven lunches) weekly. They can be picked up at Tallmadge Elementary School from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

“The program is providing meals seven days a week so we’re also doing weekend meal plans,” Wood said.

In school, students in grades 1 through 5 are eligible for weekend meals of two breakfasts and two lunches in addition to the meals served in school. The weekend meals will be given to each student at dismissal on Friday afternoon.

Students in grades 6 through 12 on the Blue-Gold Schedule are eligible for meals on the days they are not in the buildings. They can pick them up at the Tallmadge Middle School.

Students in grades 6 through 12 on the Blue-Gold Schedule are eligible for meals on the days they are not in the buildings. Meal amounts will change based on student schedules. For example, if the student is in school three days for the week, then that student receives 8 meals to account for the two weekdays at home and the two weekend days. Pickup for those meals is at the Tallmadge Middle School from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

All meals are federally funded and administered by the Ohio Department of Education and meet the standards for the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. Menus can be viewed at www.myschoolmenus.com/instance/636/district/537

Families need to sign-up for the free meals so schools will have a count on what to provide. The sign-up link is under the “2020 Reopening” tab and listed as “Pick Up Meal Enrollment” or https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeV4DmE_rLvZsml8QL6XLkt70SW9uQcaxaKhJjcoqZj0Txjtw/viewfor

Families can also sign up on the Nutrition Services Page, http://www.tallmadgeschools.org/NutritionServices.aspx

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com.