Did you know that on Oct. 9, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the free meals waiver?

This allows schools to continue to provide all registered children and their siblings under age 18 in our school district free breakfast and free lunch on scheduled school days for the entire 2020-21 school year.

What does this mean during distance learning? For the Pequot Lakes School District, it means meals are available for pickup on Monday mornings and early evenings. A pack of five breakfasts and five lunches is put together for each child and made available for pickup.

Pickups are available Mondays at Eagle View Elementary School and at the middle school/high school from 8-9 a.m. and 4-5 p.m.. There is also a pickup point at Reed’s Market in Crosslake from 9-10 a.m. Mondays.

It’s really simple to sign up. Call or email Patty Buell, food service director, at 218-568-9363 or pbuell@isd186.org and she will add your name to the list. You will need to provide your name, contact information, number of children and where and when you will pick up.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

This program is funded by the USDA and the state of Minnesota. For every meal that gets picked up, our school district receives funding. The more meals, the more funding. We started off sending out almost 1,200 breakfasts and 1,200 lunches and as of this writing, the list has grown to over 1,500 of each!

Please take advantage of these meals. You are not taking away this benefit from someone else if you participate. These free meals can help you manage your household budget with the skyrocketing costs of groceries, and they are time saving and convenient, allowing those children at home to be more independent.

This program is also keeping some of our food service staff employed. We did have to partially furlough most of the food service staff, so more meals also mean more hours for them!

Please note: Tuesday, Dec. 1, is the deadline for families to turn in an application for free or reduced price meals. Due to the current free meals program for all students, many families have not submitted their application, which greatly reduces the revenue the school district receives in the year ahead.

Please turn in your application to Patty Buell (pbuell@isd186.org) before the end of the month. An application can be downloaded from the school district food service website or picked up in the district office.

Patty Buell is the food service director for the Pequot Lakes School District.