Rowan County School programs aim to combat food insecurity
Officials with the Rowan County School District said they have programs in place to combat food insecurity for students and their families, something a report from the USDA indicates is still a rising problem nationwide.
Glen Teager is the Finance and Food Services Director with Rowan County Schools. He said the district has the ability to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students through a federal program called Community Eligibility Provision.
“If you have a high enough percentage of identified students for free and reduced lunch, the federal government put a plan in place that you can offer all your students free [meals], and then you get a certain reimbursement amount, and we were able to work through that budget and do that,” Teager said. “We’ve been able to offer that for a number of years, and we’ve just been approved for another five years, which is fantastic.”
Kellyn Gussler is the Community Schools Director with the district. She said in addition to the CEP Program, Rowan County Schools also provides supplemental food assistance for students and their families through Family Resource Youth Services Centers.
“We always have food. If not, we’ll go out and get it if they need additional support. Each school has snack packs,” Gussler said. “With all of our schools, preschool included, roughly around 250 snack packs are sent home every Friday.”
Gussler said families who need the services provided can simply call ahead to their child’s school to get the resources they need.
Both Gussler and Teager said the winter months are often hardest for families in terms of food insecurity because other financial responsibilities often take priority.