Free summer meals for children wraps up

Seven Pulaski County Special School District schools distributed a total of 70,541 meals as part of a free summer feeding program through the President Biden administration.

The meals are through a federal program known as “Seamless Summer Meals”  the district partnered with and lasted for a total of nine weeks. The meals were available to anyone under 18 and who lived in Pulaski County.

The weekly meal boxes include seven breakfasts and seven lunches.

“We are so thankful that parents allowed us to feed their children this summer,” said Regena English, director of student nutrition. “We work so hard to ensure every student is provided a meal when needed. It has been a great success and we look forward to many summers of feeding.”

The program started on June 7 and with the last pickup on Monday, Aug. 2.

Cato Elementary in rural Pulaski County served the most meals with a total of 27,164 distributed.

Maumelle's Pine Forest Elementary distributed a total of 11,102.

The breakdown by school:

  • Cato Elementary, Sherwood ... 27,164 meals

  • William Jefferson Clinton Elementary, Sherwood  … 18,690 meals

  • Pine Forest Elementary, Maumelle ... 11,102 meals

  • College Station Elementary, Little Rock ... 5,012 meals

  • Harris Elementary, North Little Rock... 3,402 meals 

  • Landmark Elementary ... 3,108 meals

  • Oak Grove Elementary, North Little Rock ... 2,063 meals

Free meals will continue through the coming school year as well. 

The United States Department of Agriculture announced in April that schools nation-wide would be allowed to serve meals through the agency’s National School Lunch Program with an end date of June 30, 2022.

“The waivers continue the Administration’s commitment to provide safe, healthy meals free of charge to children as the pandemic continues to threaten the food and nutrition security of our most vulnerable,” the USDA said in a press release. “Schools that choose this option will receive higher-than-normal meal reimbursements for every meal they serve … this option also affords schools the financial flexibility to further customize their meal service design to fit their local needs.”

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An example of the weekly lunch box at Pulaski County Special School District from last school year. (PCSSD photo/File)