Gilmer Schools returns to free meals with USDA funding

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EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer County Charter Schools has stated today that they will begin offering free meals of both lunches and breakfasts to all students attending classes in person on Gilmer campuses.

According to their statement, “Effective Tuesday, September 8,2020 all Gilmer County Schools will begin serving free breakfast and lunch meals to all students attending in person classes.” This does not rely on applications or normal free and reduced lunches with the school’s normal program.

Gilmer Schools has operated for years in programs like “Seamless Summer,” pictured here, where they provide meals to students during the summer. Other programs like “Seamless Lunches” have branched off of the same idea due to needs arising, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak this year.

System administration said today that the USDA is the source of funding for lunches for the remainder of this semester only. Gilmer Schools has already moved to free breakfasts in the past in efforts to increase participation. They also provided lunches through bus routes in March, earlier this year, for students as a part of a “Seamless Lunches” program feeding kids during the school year. The school year was cut off due to COVID-19 outbreak. That program fed students as they adapted to classes at home and “distance learning” under quarantines as the outbreak first spread.

Today, the new program is set to continue free meals until December 31, 2020. The school system said, “This will allow the school nutrition program to serve nutritious meals to all students who attend in person classes, at no cost to families. Students who purchased a school lunch September 1-4, 2020 will be issued a credit on their meal accounts.”

The program ends over the break between semesters and usual meal prices will resume in January, 2021.

Administration said they “strongly encourage families to complete an application for free and reduced meals” before then.

Lunch price for elementary and middle school students is $2.15 and $2.30 for high school students. Reduced price lunches are $.40 for all grade levels.

Along with the information they gave, GCCS said, “We understand that these are trying times for everyone and are hoping this will relieve some of the financial hardship that is being felt by many in our community. If you have any questions, please contact the School Nutrition Office at (706) 276-5000.”

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