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Hastings Public School students get free meals starting next week

Grand Island, Kearney also access USDA program
Students in the Hastings, Grand Island and Kearney school districts will get free meals as part of a USDA waiver program.
Students in the Hastings, Grand Island and Kearney school districts will get free meals as part of a USDA waiver program.(AP)
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 6:33 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Hastings Public Schools announced Tuesday that each student will get free meals starting Sept 21.

The program is an extension of the USDA waiver program that has helped provide more than 115,000 free meals to Hastings students since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meals paid for starting Sept. 1 will be refunded to students' lunch accounts.

Extra entrees, as well as a la carte options, will still be available for students to purchase using funds from their meal accounts. Virtual learners will also be able to take part in free meals, with drive-through pick up available at the student’s assigned school.

The district encourages those who were intending to apply for free and reduced lunches to submit those applications by Sept. 30 so they are processed before this program is scheduled to end, which is Dec. 31, or when funding runs out.

“We have worked with Lunchtime Solutions and South Heartland District Health Department to provide the safest environment possible when students are eating breakfast and lunch,” said David Essink, Director of HR & Operations for Hastings Public Schools. “Free breakfast and lunch will be another positive step in helping families during the current situation.”

Both Kearney and Grand Island public school students will also get free meals through the USDA waiver program.

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