Students across Bryan County Schools will not have to pay for their lunches through the end of the month, according to the federal government.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that students in several districts throughout Georgia and Florida impacted by Hurricane Irma would receive food at no direct cost to their families through Sept. 30.
While some touted the program as “free lunches,” a press release from the USDA did not specify whether the money to pay for the food would come from the federal budget or eventually be deducted from school nutrition plan monies received by the districts included in the effort. There was no mention in the release of any income guidelines students must meet to be included in the fee waiver.
District officials were not immediately available to discuss where the money would come from to pay for the food.
“Schools play a vital role in ensuring that America’s children get the nutrition they need all year long through USDA’s nutrition assistance programs, but the need they fill is even more apparent in the wake of storms like Hurricane Irma,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in the release. “This disaster has disrupted the lives of so many children. We will continue to work to make sure they don’t have to worry where their next meal is coming from.”
Aside from Bryan County, the fee waiver applies to school districts in Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Clinch, Coffee, DeKalb, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Habersham, Hall, Jeff Davis, Jenkins, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Ware and Wayne counties.