BCISD extends free meals program through end of school year

Burnet High School cafeteria worker Rosie Torres

Burnet High School cafeteria worker Rosie Torres prepares lunch for students. The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District will offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students through the 2020-21 school year thanks to USDA funding. Photo by Phillip Malina/BCISD

The Burnet Consolidated Independent School District will offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students through the end of the 2020-21 school year, Superintendent Keith McBurnett announced Oct. 14.

“We are thrilled the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) was going to continue our ability to offer free lunches,” McBurnett said. “We were afraid we’d have to end the program early.”

The 3,100-student district has offered free breakfasts for many years. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in the spring and campuses closed to in-person learning, BCISD and other districts provided free grab-and-go meals containing breakfast and lunch. BCISD was able to continue the program through most of the summer with state and federal funding.

When classes resumed in August, BCISD learned it would receive USDA funding to serve both in-person and remote students free lunches through the fall semester. Remote learning families pick up five breakfasts and five lunches every Monday, McBurnett said. 

Now, with the free food program extended through the end of the school year, it’s one less hardship for many families in the district.

“Pre-pandemic, 59 percent of our families are economically disadvantaged, so this takes a financial burden off their plates,” McBurnett said. “It’s one more thing a parent this year doesn’t have to worry about. We’re just thrilled we can take that pressure off families.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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