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A plan to provide free meals to all students in Cherokee County schools through the end of the calendar year has been extended until the end of the school year, officials announced Wednesday.

The move, is a federally funded temporary relief program, school system spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said in a statement when the program was announced earlier this year. Any items students choose beyond standard meals will continue to have an additional cost.

“These free meals are not only available to in-person students, but also to all CCSD Digital Learning students who order a week of to-go meals on Thursdays for Monday pick-up,” Jacoby said. “These free meals also are available to students at CCSD’s three high schools with hybrid schedules — for both in-person days and for at-home days if to-go meals are ordered in advance.” A form to order to-go meals is emailed on Thursday mornings and due at 8 a.m. every Friday.

“Our hardworking School Nutrition team provides fresh and nutritious meals every day to our students, including those who otherwise would go hungry. These new USDA flexibilities recognize that many families are struggling who do not meet its free and reduced-price meal program’s income guidelines,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. “We’re grateful for this federal support to provide relief to families who need a helping hand during this challenging time to ensure their children are fed.”

Children who are not yet school age who come with their parent/caregiver to the Digital Learning meal pick-up are eligible to receive their own bag of to-go meals at that time as well.

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