Yes! Breakfast and Lunch is now free To All Cannon County School Students. Yesterday – September 1st, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended all Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waivers through as late as December 31, 2020, dependent on available funding. The move allows Cannon County Schools Free and Reduced Lunch Program to offer meals to all children at no charge this fall to minimize the challenges of meal service during a pandemic. School Nutrition Directors are continuing to advocate for these waivers to be extended through School Year 2020-2021.
The announcement came less than one week after the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) Board of Directors hosted a call with USDA officials to share urgent feedback from schools that have seen dramatic declines in student lunch participation in the opening weeks of school, leaving meal programs in dire financial circumstances. “Cannon County Schools greatly appreciate the USDA addressing the critical challenges shared by districts serving students on the frontlines these first weeks of school. These waivers will allow school nutrition professionals to focus on nourishing hungry children for success, rather than scrambling to process paperwork and verify eligibility in the midst of a pandemic. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with USDA to ensure school meal programs are equipped to meet the future needs of America’s students,” stated Mrs. Jennifer Insell – Cannon County Schools Food Service Supervisor.
She continued, “Today’s announcement brings a huge relief to our school meal program and the community we serve. Many of our families who might not qualify for free meals are still going through a tough time and are worried about how to keep food on the table. Now their children will have one less thing to worry about as they adjust to evolving in-school and remote learning scenarios. These waivers also eliminate a massive administrative burden for our school nutrition staff, allowing them to focus on feeding children.”
“Today’s move doesn’t simply help to increase food access, at a time when food insecurity and demand for hunger relief is rising. Allowing schools to serve all children free of charge also brings nutrition departments more revenue, as USDA reimburses them on a per-meal basis. “
“We are so excited to offer free meals to ALL students at our schools.” Jennifer Insell, Cannon County School Food Service Supervisor said. “We’re completely putting into place, a plan to make sure our community knows that everybody is welcome at our table again. Distance learners should call the school cafeteria at which they are enrolled, if they would like to set up a time to pick up meals at the school. We are working on a system to make meal access readily available for our distance learners.”
Director of Cannon County Schools – Mr. William F. Curtis stated, “Cannon County Schools is extremely appreciative to our Federal Officials to continue a VERY successful program from Summer 2020. Thousands of meals were provided to ALL Cannon County children that came to our Meal Distribution sites. Cannon County School Nutrition Program is self-funded through the USDA Child Nutrition Program through meal reimbursement. NO local funding is expended for meal reimbursement. Cannon County Schools are certainly appreciative of the US Government assisting during these unprecedented times.”