Hannibal students to eat free through December

HANNIBAL — All students enrolled in the Hannibal School District, including those in the Pirate Virtual Academy, will be able to eat district prepared meals free beginning Monday, Oct. 12.

School district officials said the free meals will be available through the end of December, or as long as federal funding is available.

Rich Stilley, business manager for the Hannibal School District, said this opportunity has been under consideration for a couple of months.

“I was waiting on clarification from both DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) and the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to assure that funding was available and that we could serve both our in-seat and Pirate Virtual Academy students.”

The free meal program includes one breakfast and one lunch per school day, Monday through Friday, per child. Enrolled in-seat students will be provided meals on school days during regular meal service times.

Carryout meals that will include one breakfast and one lunch for students enrolled in the Pirate Virtual Academy will be available for pickup at Hannibal Middle School, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. daily. These meals must be pre-ordered weekly by calling the school district’s food service department at 573-221-2378. Meals also may be pre-ordered online at meals@Hannibal60.com .

Pre-ordering of pickup meals begins on Wednesday, Oct. 7. Meals must be pre-ordered for the next week, each Thursday by 10 a.m. The order will need to include each enrolled student’s name, grade and the date or dates that meals will be picked up.

The school district encourages parents who have not already completed a free/reduced meal application for the 2020-21 school year to do so. Stilley said 58% percent of the district’s students pay a reduced fee or eat free currently.

If funding is not available beyond Dec. 31, 2020, the school district’s meal program will return to normal in January with students being charged for meals unless they qualify for free meals.

For additional information contact Stilley at 573-221-1258.

As of the September meeting of the Hannibal Board of Education there were 2,860 students attending classes in district school buildings. There were another 645 youngsters who were learning through the Pirate Virtual Academy.

According to Stilley, the school district normally serves approximately 1,200 breakfasts and 2,895 lunches per day. Stilley said the meal numbers are down slightly thus far in the school year to around 1,050 breakfasts and 2,400 lunches per day.

The availability of free meals could boost the number of meals that are being served.

“It is a possibility and I hope that our families will take advantage of this opportunity,” Stilley said.

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