Secretary of Agriculture extends Food Box Program

BONAIRE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)– Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, visited Bonaire Elementary School in Houston County, to announce the extension of the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program.

The program gives families food and has distributed over 75 million boxes of fresh produce since May.

Houston County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Mark Scott, says the expansion will help families in his school district.

“Those couple of months that we closed schools, our nutrition staff served over 1 million meals” Scott stated. “Family situations have changed in our community, and I really think that our families will appreciate the Secretary and his staff making an effort to provide free meals for all students.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, included the Farmers to Families Food Boxes. Excess funding made the extension of the food boxes possible.

Congress approved an estimated budget to continue the program until December 31. Secretary Perdue says if the money does not stretch into 2021, schools will need to revert back to regular protocol.

“If there’s no additional funding coming we’re going to use all of the money that Congress has appropriated, whether it’s December 31, or before,” Perdue said. “As of January 1, we’re saying that schools will need to revert back to the normal school feeding program— free and reduced lunch.”

Meredith Potter, the Director of School Nutrition in Houston County, says the school system will provide meals and support for students throughout this school year no matter what.

“Funding or not we’re going to continue to provide food for our kids. We adjusted in March and we’ll do it again,” Potter said.

Kids two to 18-years-old can receive the Farmers to Families food boxes. Parents do not need their children to be present or enrolled in the school system to pick up food boxes.

Categories: Featured, Houston County, Local News

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