ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County Public Schools says it will extend to the end of the school year a program that offers free meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — seven days a week to all school-age children.
What You Need To Know
- All children can get free meals, regardless of need or enrollment
- Parents can pick up the meals at any school on Mondays after the final bell
- More information
Families can show up at any OCPS school and pick up meals for their children, regardless of what school their children attend and whether they attend school at all, the district said. They don’t need to qualify based on need or income, officials said.
It remains part of a congressionally approved U.S. Department of Agriculture program that offers school systems across the country extended flexibility in the way they distribute meals amid the economic and logistical effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
OCPS told Spectrum News 13 in early October that it would offer the program until the middle of December. USDA now offers school districts the program for the rest of the school year, the district said.
“Everything stands as is,” OCPS spokesman Michael Ollendorff said in an email. “Any child age 18 and under can receive the free meals.”
Parents can pick up the meals at any school on Mondays beginning 30 minutes after the final bell rings. Curbside service remains available for 90 minutes after that. Parents receive frozen meals that cover three meals a day through the weekend.
Parents must provide only their child’s or children’s names.
Even though families don’t need to qualify for the program this school year, officials continue to encourage parents to apply on the OCPS website for free and reduced-price meals. Officials say it helps the district, for one thing, demonstrate any need to the federal government.