OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Owensboro Public Schools started its free meal program Monday, serving 1,100 meals.
School officials say with the help of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, they will be extending the service another week.
Thanks to a waiver from the federal government, Owensboro Public Schools will be extending its free lunch program through spring break.
“So that those kids who are learning at home still have access to meals including breakfast and lunch,” Dr. Quarles said.
“Traditionally the spring break week is not allowable reimbursement by the government for meals,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Matthew Constant said.
OPS officials say they reached out to Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Quarles.
“Because of the strangeness of what’s going on, we reached out to his office to ask him to intercede for us at the federal level to help us get a waiver so that we could be reimbursed during that week,” Dr. Constant said.
As a thank you for the help, district officials say they invited the commissioner to help pass out free meals.
“We’re happy to be here today at Owensboro High School passing out meals to anybody that needs it,” Dr. Quarles said.
Quarles says last week he was in Harrison County doing the same thing.
“Which was ground zero for the coronavirus with six confirmed cases,” Quarles said.
The commissioner says he paid the visit to show the community that amid the craziness, food is available for students.
“Some people don’t have the advantage to go to the grocery store or have a pantry full of groceries at their house. I think this is a good opportunity for everybody to get free food,” said Kenzie Fallaway, a student.
“Don’t be afraid, that there is hope, that this is something we are going to work together to get through and that your student, even though they might be learning at home, has access to quality food,” Quarles said.
School officials say meals are available for pickup at 25 locations throughout the city. For a list of meal sites, click here.