BCS provides free meals for children over summer break

Published 2:31 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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Children under the age of 18 in Beaufort County can receive free breakfasts and lunches provided by Beaufort County Schools. The school district began its summer meal program on Monday, June 19 and will continue on Mondays through Thursday until Thursday, Aug. 17. The meal program will not be available the week of July 4. 

There are meal sites across the county, but to find the three closest meal sites to you, text FOOD or COMIDA to 304-304. No registration, application or identification is required. Children do not have to be enrolled in Beaufort County Schools. 

Joanne Kirven, a school nutrition specialist with Beaufort County Schools said nutrition and having a healthy diet makes a student ready for school day. 

“If you’ve got a hungry tummy, you can’t actually learn. You’re focused on your rumbly tummy. If we can provide a nutritious breakfast and lunch for the children, it creates a much nicer environment for the child,” Kirven said. She added that having students fed makes the day easier for teachers because they can place more attention on the lesson. 

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, in 2022, there were a combined 40,003 meals served across 30 sites in Beaufort County. Last September, 4,563 children or 75% of public school students in the county, were eligible for free and reduced-price school meals; however, 2,588 students actually participated in free and reduced-priced school lunch. 

All students within Beaufort County Schools are served free breakfast and lunch for free per day through the Community Eligibility Provision. The provision is administered through the Food and Nutrition Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is a meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income communities. 

Schools that enroll in the provision are “reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),” according to the Department of Agriculture.