TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) -- Thousands of students in Tippecanoe County are now eligible for a free breakfast and lunch every school day. The federal government extended its summer free lunch program starting on Sept. 1.
"It is great for some of these families that, you know, maybe they got behind during the times so this is just one less thing that parents do have to worry about," said Lori Shofroth Cords, director of Nutrition Services for the Tippecanoe School Corporation.
TSC joins Lafayette, West Lafayette, and the Lafayette Catholic school districts in participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program.
"The USDA rolled this out about two weeks ago but we had to wait for the guidance from the Indiana Department of Education because of paperwork and how to go about, you know, which way to go," said Shofroth.
This program provides free school breakfasts and lunches for all students no matter their household income. Any student who paid for a school meal during the first two weeks of September will be reimbursed on their student lunch accounts.
Shofroth said the USDA's Summer Service Program extension is set to end Dec. 21 or when funds run out. Since thousands of schools across the country are participating in this summer extension program, she said it's still important families are signed up for the school's free and reduced lunch programs so that they aren't left without meal benefits before another federally funded meal program kicks in.
"Once all the waiver money has run out, which it could be two weeks from now, let's hope not or it could be the last day of December so once we go back in January we'll go back to the National School Lunch Program," said Shofroth Cords.
The National School Lunch program is also provided through the USDA, and it's what TSC was operating under when school started in August. This program only offers free meals to students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch.
Tippecanoe School Corp. and Lafayette School Corp. families can sign up for free and reduced lunches here.
West Lafayette Community School Corp. families can sign up for free and reduced lunches here.
Lafayette Catholic School Corp. families can sign up for free and reduced lunches here.