5 Lexington District 2 Schools Will Have Universal Free Meals

Posted 8/18/22

More Lexington County schools will have universal free meals this year.

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5 Lexington District 2 Schools Will Have Universal Free Meals

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More Lexington County schools will have universal free meals this year.

Lexington County School District 2 announced this week that students at five of its schools — Cayce Elementary, Congaree Elementary, Wood Elementary, Pine Ridge Middle School and New Bridge Academy — may participate in breakfast and lunch programs at no charge. 

The funding for this comes through the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal program that assists schools in low-income areas with food service.

“Families whose students attend these schools will not have to fill out meal applications for the 2022-2023 school year,” a news release from District 2 states. “If a family has another student enrolled in a Lexington Two school that is not a CEP school, they still must complete an application to determine eligibility for free or reduced price meals.”

The release notes that parents and guardians who don’t want to participate in CEP may contact the district to “discuss this matter on an informal basis.”

Paying for school meals wasn’t a concern for Lexington County families for the past two years, as a system of waivers through the U.S. The Department of Agriculture and additional federal funding spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic allowed the nation’s public schools to offer universal free meals to students.

With those provisions ending, the majority of the county’s schools have reverted to application-based free and reduced-price meal programs.

District 2 isn’t the first in the county to announce the continuation of some universal free meals through the CEP.

Lexington County School District 3, which oversees schools in Batesburg-Leesville, announced last month that students at all of its schools would get no-cost meals for the 2022-23 school year through the federal program.

Reached by the Chronicle when Lexington 2 announced details for this year’s free and reduced meals applications, Rion Skinner, general manager for Sodexo, the food services provider for the district, advocated for continuing the pandemic practice of providing universal free student meals.

“Not having free meals does create a hardship for parents who are struggling with the increased costs for living expenses,” she said.

lexington county school district 2, universal free meals, sc education, midlands students

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