Basic lunches at Kilgore High School (above) and all KISD campuses will be free for all students for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, thanks to a plan put in place by the USDA.

It seems too good to be true, especially to parents – but it is true.

Kilgore ISD has announced plans to offer free meals to all students for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, starting this coming Monday, November 2.

The announcement was made on social media at the end of last week, following a decision by the United States Department of Agriculture (which oversees public school lunch programs) to extend additional funding to schools, allowing free meals to be offered in schools nationwide through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

An October 9 press release from USDA announced the decision:

“U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced (Oct. 9) that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending flexibilities to allow free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year. The flexibilities extended today will allow schools and other local program operators to continue to leverage the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide no cost meals to all children, available at over 90,000 sites across the country, through June 30, 2021.”

KISD has also taken part in the Summer Food Service program in recent years, offering free meals to young people over the summer months when school is out of session. This is because many low-income families in the East Texas area often rely on school breakfasts and lunches to ensure their children get enough to eat throughout the day.

KISD posted a “Frequently Asked Questions” document to social media Monday to let parents and guardians learn more about the program. According to the document, the free meal program will start in Kilgore on Monday and will last until the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Until that date, meal services at all KISD campuses will continue as normal.

Additionally, the document clarified which meals will be free: only basic breakfast and lunch meals will be offered for free. Items added to the basic meals or items purchased from the a la carte menu will still be sold at the regular price. However, this does mean that parents will no longer have to pay for basic meals at KISD campuses.

The Grab/Go meals will be made available for free to any child up to age 18 who is not receiving a meal on campus at the same time. This includes children who are not students at KISD. Children receiving the Grab and Go meal packages must be present with their parents or guardians to receive the packages or their parents or guardians must present identification.

Those can be picked up from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Chandler Elementary on all scheduled KISD school days.

For additional information or for additional questions, contact KISD Director of Nutrition Jennie Hammerbacher at or call (903) 988-3900.


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