When students step onto an Austin ISD campus in the 2021-22 school year, they can rest assured they’ll be able to get a healthy lunch at no cost.
The United States Department of Agriculture announced on April 20 they are extending free meal benefits through June 2022, allowing Austin ISD to keep serving its free lunches.
“We are excited to offer healthy, tasty meals at no cost to all families, regardless of their household income,” said Christine Steenport, interim director of Food Service and Warehouse Operations at Austin ISD. “Free school meals help with expanding food access in Austin while also providing comfort for students and convenience for families.”
Since March of 2020, AISD has distributed over 3 million free meals on campuses and more than 4.2 million free curbside meals to children and caregivers.
Through the USDA waiver extension, AISD will continue providing meals through the federally-funded Seamless Summer Option program. This program allows schools to serve free meals for all students, without collecting household meal benefit applications. The Seamless Summer Option program is typically only available during the summer months but was made available for schools to better meet the needs of communities throughout the pandemic.
AISD is awaiting local guidance from the Texas Department of Agriculture regarding approved meal service methods for the next school year.
AISD has been providing free meals under the SSO program since March 2020. Students currently participating in on-campus learning may receive free breakfast and lunch in the cafe or classroom.
Students participating in remote learning, as well as any child younger than 19 and their caregivers, may receive free seven-day meal packs at curbside sites each Thursday. AISD will also continue providing free meals at select campuses throughout the summer.