GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The Pitt County Schools Nutrition Services office has decided that all students in the county will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch.
The program is a part of the seamless summer option from the United States Department of Agriculture. Students pre-k to early college will have the option for free breakfast and lunch, helping eliminate some of the stress from parents.
Gretchen Wilson is the director of the county’s school nutrition services and she tells me, this is something they have been pushing for to remain permanent.
“North Carolina School Nutrition Association and our national School Nutrition Association have been pushing for universal free meals for years,” said Wilson. “Getting the meals they have better grades, fewer visits to the school nurses.”
She says by allowing everyone this opportunity, takes away some of the stigma of needing extra help.
“By them being able to come through the like and grab a meal like every other child could do without being identified or any certain kind of categorically eligible system does make the child feel more comfortable and confident to take that meal,” said Wilson.
Wilson also notes that with the meals being free, now any students, teens especially, who may want extra food can now use their own money for that, not having to spend on the initial meal.
She says that it is important that anyone who does qualify for free meals normally still fill out the annual application, as it is related to title one funding and helps the family get discounts on things like tests and other added expenses.
Click here for more information on the program.