A U.S. Department of Agriculture program to provide free meals to students has extended through Dec. 31, 2020.


Newton Schools has been approved.


"Whether students are learning in the classroom or remotely, meals will be served free of charge to all USD 373 students. No proof of benefit eligibility will be required," said Elaine Gaeddert, director of food service for Newton USD 373. "Details for meal distribution for remote students will be released in the near future."


All students enrolled in Unified School District 373 who eat breakfast or lunch in district schools will not be charged through Dec. 31.


Other public schools in the area have applied. Ask your school district as to what their status is.


In USD 373, families who normally would pay the full rate or the reduced rate for breakfast and lunch will not be charged during this time.


District families still need to fill out the free/reduced application because meals after Dec. 31 will be charged according to their student’s meal status. The free/reduced application also is needed on file for families to qualify for free or reduced-price textbook fees. This application helps each district receive additional state funding needed to provide resources for their students.


"As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy and nutritious food," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a news release. "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.