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USDA extends free meals for students

SYLVA, NC – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on August 31 that the Summer Foodservice Program has been extended and immediate funding is available for local school districts to offer free meals for children regardless of their school enrollment status through December 2020 or until the program’s funds are exhausted.

“This is such exciting news,” Jackson County School Nutrition Director Laura Cabe said. “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to serve safe, healthy and nutritious meals to our students and the young children in our community.”

The program was originally scheduled to end in late August, but the extension allows districts to continue serving breakfast and lunch at no charge to children age 18 and under as well as individuals over age 18 who have a disability and participate in school programs for the mentally or physically disabled.

Jackson County Public Schools is currently in Phase 1 of its reentry plan, and all students are learning remotely through September 11. During this time, meals are available for pick-up by parents and guardians at six schools and 18 community locations on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A list of locations is available at

When the district moves to Phase 2 of the reentry plan on September 14, students who return to school in-person will receive free breakfast and lunch from their school cafeteria. Students who choose to continue remote instruction in Phase 2 can have meals picked up by parents and guardians at the six school locations weekdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. excluding holidays.

Despite the extension of the Summer Foodservice Program, families are urged to complete the free and reduced meal application as soon as possible at Submitting the application now helps ensure that eligible students will not miss meals when the current free meal program expires later this year.

If you would like more information about this topic, call Laura Cabe at (828) 586-2311 ext. 1936 or email

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