New school year won’t offer free lunches for all Forsyth County students

Michelle Hall

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The USDA free lunch program, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic, has expired.(Photo/Getty Images)

(Forsyth County, GA) When the 2022-23 school year starts this Thursday, August 4, in Forsyth County, parents will need to plan on whether their children will be brown bagging or buying their lunch.

The decision comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has ended its free lunch program that was established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The free meal program was an attempt by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to ensure that all students attending public school in person had enough to eat for lunch - at no cost - while many American families were experiencing financial hardships.

The program, which began in the 2020-21 school year, was extended last year to all public schools across the country, including Forsyth County. Students received a hot lunch from the school menu at no cost and were permitted to purchase extras such as chips, ice cream and bottled drinks.

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(Image/Forsyth County Schools)

Forsyth County Schools (FCS), in partnership with the USDA, will continue the program for free meals and discounted meals that was in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families can apply for financial assistance for the entire 2022-23 school year. Applications are available in both English and Spanish.

The cost of meals has increased by 40 cents to 75 cents per meal since the 2019-20 school year. Here’s a look at how much students will pay for breakfast and lunch for this academic year:

Elementary schools: Breakfast - $1.70 Lunch - $3.00

Middle schools: Breakfast - $1.80 Lunch - $3.10

High schools: Breakfast - $1.90 Lunch - $3.10 (Grill $3.85)

Parents can view the menu for each school on the individual school’s website. FCS also publishes menus on the MealViewer website and mobile app. Using that site, parents can also set allergen alerts for their children and view nutrition calculators.

Funds can be deposited into a student’s lunch account by going to the My Payments Plus website.

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, email michelle.hall@newsbreak.com

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