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Illinois State Board of Education and USDA Announce Free Meals for K-12 Heritage Students

Heritage school district has applied for a waiver that will allow us to provide free lunch for all K-12 students in our district until the end of December per the USDA announcement below from last week. This is similar to the SSO program during the spring closure of schools.  The Illinois State Board provided an application to Illinois schools and Heritage applied for the waiver and can begin offering this to any student in district irregardless of paid-reduced-free status.  This includes children who are here for in-person instruction and remote learners through Educere.

We will continue to provide pick-up for those children who are not attending in-person instruction.  If you are interested in getting the free meals, the program is back-dated for anyone back to September 1st, 2020 qne you can notify the main office at either school your child or children attend and also instruct your child(ren) to be added to the lunch (and breakfast if desired for K-8 at Homer) count for that day.  Parents with a lunch account that has been paid ahead of time, we will hold that balance and it can be applied for future paid meals once USDA and ISBE announce the end date of this program, which is projected to last until December 31st or until the funding runs out (see announcements from USDA & ISBE below).

We need to know by this deadline so that we can order enough food to prepare to make sure that all children are being fed. Once you are on the list, you will be responsible for picking up meals during this time period every Monday until you notify the office of any changes.  Thank you and we look forward to helping our families and children.

Illinois State Board of Education Announcement

We are excited to share the recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they are extending waivers…

Posted by Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday, September 2, 2020

We are excited to share the recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they are extending waivers for Summer Meals programs through the end of this calendar year. This will allow schools participating in the Child Nutrition Programs to continue serving free reimbursable meals to all children through Dec. 31, 2020. The flexibilities include:

1. Allowing Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option meals to be served in all areas and at no cost
2. Permitting meals to be served outside of the typically-required group settings and meal times
3. Waiving meal pattern requirements as necessary
4. Allowing parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children.

Schools will now be able to continue operating as they did at the end of last school year with the pandemic and throughout the summer.

We understand it is a very challenging time with the COVID-19 pandemic and that it is essential children have access to nutritious food. Thank you for all you are doing to feed students!

USDA Extends Free Meals for Kids Through December 31, 2020

Summer meal programs can continue operating as funding allows

(Washington, DC, August 31, 2020) – Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend several flexibilities through as late as December 31, 2020. The flexibilities allow summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all children into the fall months. This unprecedented move will help ensure – no matter what the situation is on-the-ground – children have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA has been and continues to be committed to using the Congressionally appropriated funding that has been made available.

“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy, and nutritious food. During the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA has provided an unprecedented amount of flexibilities to help schools feed kids through the school meal programs, and today, we are also extending summer meal program flexibilities for as long as we can, legally and financially,” said Secretary Perdue. “We appreciate the incredible efforts by our school foodservice professionals year in and year out, but this year we have an unprecedented situation. This extension of summer program authority will employ summer program sponsors to ensure meals are reaching all children – whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually –  so they are fed and ready to learn, even in new and ever-changing learning environments.”