Free meal programs in RCAS see increased participation

Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 5:35 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Anyone in the Rapid City Area School District has the opportunity to get free school meals.

“During the 20-21 school year, we’re offering meals at no charge and that is due to waivers through the USDA allowing us to offer a summer food service program and that means all meals at all schools breakfast and lunch are offered at no charge to all students,” says Student Nutrition Manager Krista Leishner.

For those students involved in distance learning, they are able to pick up free meals at the beginning of the week to eat at home.

On Fridays, everyone is able to grab meals to last over the weekend.

“We know that when we serve meals we not only meet the nutritional needs, but we also set them up for success in the classroom. The opportunity for meals at no charge has made a pretty big impact on a lot of families, we’re hoping that more people will participate,” says Leishner.

Right now, the district can offer these free meals until June 30th and Leischner says they are seeing increased participation in these programs.

“I don’t necessarily know if I would say the need has grown, I think there’s always been the need however more people are able to participate. Now whether it’s to save time or whether it’s to save money, they’re participating in our meals and numbers might not necessarily reflect that directly just because we have so many distance learners this year but yes we have seen an increase throughout this year, we continue to see increased participation,” says Leishner.

RCAS doesn’t know what the 21-22 school year will be looking like yet, they are still waiting on guidance from the USDA. But they are planning to operate the national school lunch program and the school breakfast program as usual for the next school year.

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