HOUSTON – All Houston Independent School District students will receive a free meal three times a day during the 2017-2018 school year, district officials announced Wednesday.
The waiver takes effect immediately, allowing students to take advantage of free meals when school resumes.
The decision comes in the wake of the devastation created by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.
"The flooding that is affecting the city of Houston has been devastating to so many. Some of the areas that are the hardest hit are filled with working parents whose limited funds will need to go toward recovery efforts," Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza said. "This waiver will give our families one less concern as they begin the process of restoring their lives. It will also provide a sense of normalcy by allowing students to have access to up to three nutritious meals each and every school day."
The district received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture to waive the required application process for the National School Lunch/Breakfast Program.
The National School Lunch/School Breakfast Program applications and surveys are available online.
"It will take months, possibly years for the city to recover. We expect families to be displaced, students to attend new schools, and many of them possibly using alternative ways to travel to and from school," HISD nutrition services officer Betti Wiggins said. "We want to reduce any stress connected to food while families work toward getting their personal affairs in order. All HISD students will have access to good food, made with as many local and fresh ingredients as possible, and served with love and a smile."