School district offers free meals to all children
BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - School being out for the summer doesn’t necessarily mean students will miss out on meals in one Region 8 county.
Now more than ever, while many attempt to recover from the pandemic and deal with high inflation costs, Batesville School District is offering some relief.
“As a mother, I’m proud because we have so many people in the district willing to come and work during the summer,” said Tonya Gibson, director of nutritional services.
Gibson works with her team daily to make sure hot meals are ready to go, serving everything from meatballs and spaghetti to chicken and biscuits.
It’s a commitment that the district has made to feed every child in the community at any district in the region for free. Over 500 children take advantage of the meals throughout the community daily for breakfast and lunch.
It is a program that will be in place until July 1 when the federal COVID program expires.
“During the COVID days, I mean, they knew they could count on us. We got out on buses and delivered meals. We had them here for pickup and so we just want to make sure they know that,” Gibson said. “We’re going to do everything we can to feed the kids. Our main goal is to feed these kids.”
The school district is accomplishing that even while facing inflation.
“The food costs on some of the things that we order have gone up, but we’ve been able to set things aside and still get what we need,” Gibson said.
In addition to higher prices on goods, the district is also facing another problem: shortages.
”We would put in our order for certain items and we would have to sub those items because they can’t get them at the warehouse. So, it’s just been a game. We’ve just had to use what they’ve actually been able to send this is it,” Gibson said.
She understands the pain people are feeling to pay for meals and survive, but she wants to make sure the community knows they can turn to the school district to find what they need.
Serving the community is something the school has mastered since the program began 10 years, long before the pandemic and inflation.
“Here at Batesville School District we always put the students first and that’s what we will continue to do,” Gibson said.
Below you can find when and where your student can receive meals in the Batesville area:
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