Neosho School District benefits from USDA free meals

NEOSHO, Mo. -Lunch time looks a little different at schools across the U.S., including here at Neosho High School, but kids still have their favorites.

“The chicken patty Wednesdays, they’re like a staple here at high school. It’s awesome,” said Jakobe Harris, a junior at NHS.

Now, those chicken patties, along with anything else served at lunch or breakfast, is free.Lunch

” The summer food service program was extended. Normally we only do it in the months of June and July for all of K-12 students. The USDA has extended that until Dec. 31, 2020, or until funds run out,” explained Richie Fretwell, Asst. Superintendent of Operations for the Neosho School District.

“It gives like a lot of relief for so many families because there’s some students who don’t wanna eat, can’t eat, so making that available for everyone is like a great thing,” expressed Harris.

It’s also making a difference for virtual learners which make up about 18% of Neosho’s current student body. Those kids can pick up a free breakfast and lunch at the high school or Goodman Elementary between the hours of 11 a.m. and noon.

On the first day of the program, Sept. 14, the school served nearly 40 virtual-learners in addition to its regular student load.

“I just think some of our families need that. They’re going through a tough time, the community, the nation is going through a tough time, and I just think this is a great gesture for our district and the nation that we feed our kids,” said Fretwell.

“Eating, it gets you prepared for the day, and so this is going to help a lot of students,” Harris stated.

School officials are recommending parents fill out free and reduced meal applications now in the event they would qualify for that program and USDA funds conclude.

About 54% of Neosho’s students are on a free or reduced meal plan.