WATSONVILLE—During the next school year, every student in Pajaro Valley Unified School District can get a free breakfast and lunch, nutrition director Linda Liu said.
Students and their families will not be required to fill out applications for free and reduced lunches to participate, she said.
The announcement came as students prepare to return to the classroom after a year upended by Covid-19 and distance learning. The free meals are an extension of a program launched last year.
“It’s great news,” Liu said. “We were really happy to hear it. We’re trying to spread the word this is happening”
The meals are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the funds are allocated by the California Department of Education.
State lawmakers are also looking to extend the program through the 2022-23 school year, Liu said.
Schools that offer 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, the USDA stated in a press release.
“Students’ success in the classroom goes hand in hand with their ability to access basic needs like healthy and nutritious meals,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It’s critical that our efforts to reopen schools quickly and safely include programs that provide access to free, healthy meals for our most vulnerable students, particularly those whose communities have been hardest hit by the pandemic. This program will ensure more students, regardless of their educational setting, can access free, healthy meals as more schools reopen their doors for in-person learning.”
For information, visit pvusdschoolfood.net.