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Lunch now free for all students at four additional schools
Mattie Lively Elementary, Mill Creek Elementary, Portal Elementary and William James Middle School, join Langston Chapel Elementary and Middle

School lunches are now free for all students at six of the 15 Bulloch County Schools campuses, up from just two schools that already had all-free-lunch status in recent years. Meanwhile, breakfasts remain free for all students at all 15 schools.

Both the school lunch and school breakfast programs are federally funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, schools where 40% or more of students’ families qualify by income level for free or reduced-price school lunches can then provide lunches free to all students, regardless of income.

Previously, only Langston Chapel Elementary and Langston Chapel Middle qualified among the Bulloch County Schools. But this year state program administrators approved four additional schools in the district – Mattie Lively Elementary, Mill Creek Elementary, Portal Elementary and William James Middle School, reports Hayley Greene, the school district’s public relations director. Those four and the two Langston Chapel schools now qualify.

Children who are not enrolled in one of the six schools listed above are not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch benefits without a completed, approved application. Families only need to complete one application per household, and not an application for each child.

If the school district has documentation that a family is eligible for the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Department of Human Resources’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) or if a family completed an application and was eligible for benefits in Bulloch County Schools during the 2022-2023 school year, the school district will grant a grace period for benefits until Sept. 11. But a completed, approved application will be needed for benefits to continue after that date, Greene said.

She credits county School Nutrition Director Desiree Yaeger, who is new in that role this year, with efforts to expand the number of schools taking advantage of the community eligibility provision for all-free status. District and state officials review data annually to determine eligible schools.

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