Breakfast, lunch, and dinner paid for in Pinellas schools - WFLA News Channel 8

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner paid for in Pinellas schools

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Lynn Geist shows off one of Pinellas County's new school food trucks Lynn Geist shows off one of Pinellas County's new school food trucks
LARGO, FL (WFLA) -

Students at select Pinellas County schools and programs can now eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner for free.

"We're hoping to cut down on that hunger issue for our children," explained Pinellas' Assistant Director of Food Services Lynn Geist.

The district already offers a fresh breakfast at no cost.  Now students at 58 schools will get free lunches, too. Pinellas is joining a federal food pilot program, which will pay for the meals. At Community Eligible Schools, students no longer have to qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. The entire campus will eat lunch for free if 40% of families get some type of government assistance.

"It's huge for those families," said Pinellas Schools' Food Services Director Art Dunham.  "In many cases, a lot of those families have two or three children and by Tuesday or Wednesday there just isn't enough money for lunch anymore."

Pinellas County plans to start a free dinner program from its new fleet of food trucks.  The trucks, paid for with federal grants, will serve lunch to charter schools.  When it's time for dinner, they'll roll up to three YMCA after-school programs with hot meals for all students who are still on campus past 5 o'clock. 

Dunham said the new dinner program will eventually expand to serve dinner to about 5,000 Pinellas County students.

 

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