North Mahaska students to receive free breakfast, lunch

North Mahaska student Lilly Briggs enjoys a free lunch. 

NEW SHARON — North Mahaska students will benefit from a new program that provides free breakfast and lunches to all students.

The announcement came from North Mahaska administration this past week.

“We are happy to inform you that all students are eligible to eat school breakfast and lunch free of charge beginning today (Sept. 10) through Dec. 31, 2020, or until funding is no longer available,” said the notice to parents.

The school is able to offer free breakfast and lunches to students through a nationwide USDA waiver. The school will receive federal reimbursement for all students who eat breakfast and lunch.

“We want to encourage all of our students to eat breakfast and lunch,” said North Mahaska Superintendent Angela Livezey and high school principal Amber Goemaat.

Schools across the country have been offering free meals. They continue to use this and similar programs. When it first began, the hope was to improve student achievement.

There is no registration required. All students who go through the breakfast and lunch line will be served a free breakfast and/or lunch. The school district will notify parents via email and text when the federally funded program is no longer available (at which time they will begin charging students for meals again).

“I am thankful we are able to provide this opportunity for our student and families,” said Livezey. “Since beginning the free meals on Sept. 10, we have already seen a significant increase in the number of students eating both breakfast and lunch. The second chance breakfast served from 9:30-9:50 a.m. has been a big hit with our students. We have served over 150 breakfast during this time.”

North Mahaska began using a new food service company to manage the breakfast and lunch programs for both elementary and junior-senior high. This was done prior to notification of the free lunch program. Early results seem positive, according to administration and students. More options are available to students to provide nutritious and balanced meals including an expanded salad bar.

For questions, contact the district office at 641-637-4187.

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