Gazebo Gazette

Tuesday, July 20, the Pass Christian School District released an announcement on social media that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved free meals for all students during the 2021-22 school year.

In the month of April, the USDA issued a broad range of flexibilities to allow school meal programs and childcare institutions across the country to return to serving healthy meals in fall 2021 as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to reopen schools safely.  Several meal service flexibilities that enable social distancing are now extended through June 30, 2022.  The waivers continue the Administration’s commitment to provide safe, healthy meals free of charge to children as the pandemic continues to threaten the food and nutrition security of our most vulnerable.

Schools nationwide were allowed to serve meals through USDA’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO), which is typically only available during the summer months. This option maintains the nutrition standards of the standard school meal programs – including a strong emphasis on providing fruits and vegetables, fluid milk, whole grains, and sensible calorie levels, while allowing schools to serve free meals to all children.

In addition, schools that choose this option will receive higher-than-normal meal reimbursements for every meal they serve, which will support them in serving the most nutritious meals possible while managing increased costs associated with pandemic-related operational and supply chain challenges. This option also affords schools the financial flexibility to further customize their meal service design to fit their local needs.

The Pass Christian School District encouraged all families to fill out the free and reduced application to qualify and receive several benefits; such as school funding, discounted fees for academic testing, fee waivers for college preparatory classes, and documentation for governmental assistance programs.  Students may participate in the Summer Seamless option regardless of the application results.

Additionally, Long Beach School District announced the service of free breakfast and lunch for the whole year that would be catered by Chartwells k12.  All households were encouraged to submit a free/reduced meal application at MySchoolApps because the eligibility would be tied to the P-EBT benefit.  Regardless of the results, all students will be served in the school district.