October 8 2020

USDA Grant to Provide Free Breakfast and Lunch to all Burlington Students

By: BNEWS

Every child in Burlington can get a free breakfast and lunch thanks to funding from the United State Department of Agriculture.

“While the start of the school year looks a little different for everyone, I wanted to share with you some good news that schools nationwide received last week,” BPS Director of Food Services Karen Damaso said in a letter. “The USDA extended a waiver that allows schools to serve free breakfast and lunch to ALL students, as late as December 31, 2020 or as long as funding is available. We are thrilled with this news as it means that we will be able to provide all Burlington students with nutritious and nourishing food for free that will support them, both in school and at home.”

What this means for your family and for Burlington Public Schools:

- Your children, ages 0-21, will receive a healthy breakfast and lunch every school day, at no cost, in a safe and welcoming environment. This applies to students who are attending classes in school or virtual classes at home, or a hybrid combination of these models.

- You may pick up meals for your children who are remote learners at designated schools or other meal sites that are distributing meals.

- It allows Burlington Public Schools to provide the most nourishing and appetizing meals possible for your children. When your children eat school meals, it helps the school system by providing federal funds to the district. The more meals they serve, the more funding they receive, allowing them to focus on meal quality, variety and innovative practices (new recipes, frozen take home meals, etc.). If your children have never before participated in school meals, consider trying the program this year, the letter states.

- It helps you save time and money. By allowing us to prepare meals for your children you don’t have to plan and shop for your children’s breakfast and lunch each school day.

“The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has requested that the USDA extend free meals for all students for the entire school year,” Damaso wrote. “However, as of now, the USDA has only allowed this as late as December 31, 2020 or as long as funding is available. Therefore, families should still submit a household application to determine eligibility for free and reduced price school meals. This will also allow students to qualify for any additional benefits and ensure a seamless transition when schools move back to a paid program (if the waiver is not extended for January to June 2021) The application is available to download here. Click the Free & Reduced Lunch on right, click Free & Reduced Lunch Application.”

In addition, Damaso said they also encourage families to apply for SNAP benefits. SNAP provides monthly cash benefits (on an EBT card) to purchase groceries for eligible families. To apply for SNAP, visit www.startwithsnap.org or call the Project Bread FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333. If you are unsure whether your family is eligible, the FoodSource Hotline can assist you with eligibility questions. Families approved for SNAP are directly eligible to receive free meals at school and do not need to fill out an application for free and reduced price meals.

“Students enrolled in any Burlington Public School are entitled to free breakfast and Lunch at their school,” Damaso explained. “Breakfast for the following day will be included with lunches ordered.  When your child is remotely learning you can contact their school cafeteria manager to arrange pick up for breakfast and hot lunch. Please be sure to contact your school cafeteria if your child has any food allergies!”

On Wednesdays they will have pre-packaged uncooked meals available for pick up between the hours of 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Burlington High School for all children town wide between the ages of 0-21. Pick up location will be outside of the cafeteria entrance. 

“Please remain in your car and a cafeteria staff member will assist you,” Damaso wrote.

You may place your order by clicking this link Pre-Packaged Meal Order Form or by going to the Burlington Public Schools website, foodservice section where the link is available also.  All orders should be placed by Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.  If you need further assistance please contact Karen Damaso, Food Service Director at 781-270-1756 or Keri Noke, Food Service Assistant at 781-505-1166.

“Please reach out with any questions you might have,” Damaso wrote. “Your children are the reason we do our jobs and we are here to make sure that they are fueled with good food!”


 

 
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