The Biden Administration expands Summer food Program

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – The Biden Administration is planning to launch the biggest summer food program in U.S history.

It’s the latest push by the White House to address food insecurity.

The USDA announced that they will be expanding the free school lunch program for all K-12 students.

The plan will help provide 34 million children approximately $375 each to buy food for the 10 weeks they are out for summer vacation. That averages to about  $7 each weekday. 

You might remember that Hamilton County schools started providing meals for students last year when the pandemic began.  They will continue that this summer. 

“We know that food insecurity is a big concern for students in the summer so being able to offer meals to students that are either in our schools or to families to come pick up helps our students know they can rely on meals even in the summer. We do know that it’s a real concern especially during covid. It’s put a real spotlight on how much families really rely on school meals in order to get them through and save their grocery budget,” says Kristen Nauss, Director of Nutrition for Hamilton County Schools.

The school system says they are still working to finalize all the plans for their summer meal program.

“Staffing is really our biggest concern right now. Making sure we have employees that can be there to prep the food and that it’s at a school near where they live. That’s our biggest hurdle right now,” says Nauss.

Hamilton County schools say they plan on offering weekly pick-up sites for families to grab meals throughout the summer. They’re also hoping to provide evening pickup locations to help working families.

“We provide both breakfast and lunch in our pick up meals for 7 days. So it ends up being 7 breakfasts and 7 lunches. We provide a mixture of cold options like just a sandwich or something that they can reheat. We always try to keep microwave friendly items in the bag,” says Nauss. 

The district says they are committed to tackling food insecurity in our area.

Right now they are still finalizing the days and locations for these sites but will work to have a solidified plan within the next two weeks.

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