Students to receive free breakfast, lunch


Dubois County students will receive free breakfast and lunch throughout the 2021-22 school year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the National School Lunch Seamless Summer Meal Option, or SSO, according to a recent release from the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

With SSO, all students receive free breakfast and lunch. The program is typically only available during summer months but is now extended through June 30, 2022.

SSO is not required by all schools, though. Schools that choose to opt out will continue through the National School Lunch Program, which determines eligibility for free and reduced-price meals using federal income guidelines. These guidelines are updated annually and were also recently released by the USDA.

All four school corporations — Greater Jasper, Southwest Dubois, Southeast Dubois and Northeast Dubois — are opting into the SSO program. However, households that may still be eligible for free and reduced prices still need to apply, as they can still receive other benefits such as textbook assistance.

“We’re pushing free and reduced applications probably harder this year than we ever have before, just because we’re afraid that parents are going to say, ‘Well, I don’t have to pay for meals, so there’s no reason for me to fill out that application,’” said Katie Sherman, food service director at Greater Jasper schools. “But there are so many more benefits that go with that application, so we still need those turned in.”

Ora Lee Cotton, food service director at Southwest Dubois, said the corporation has also been dealing with the same confusion among parents.

“We’ve had a real hard time getting parents to fill out the textbook assistance,” she said.

Free and reduced applications can be found on each school corporation’s website and can be printed or filled out online.

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