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Families in need in PRC School District will need to apply for free/reduced meals

This upcoming school year, Pearl River County Elementary School will no longer automatically qualify for the Community Eligibility Program.

The Community Eligibility Program previously provided free breakfasts and lunches to all PRCES students.

Superintendent of Pearl River County School District Alan Lumpkin said he wants parents to know that free and reduced lunch options are still available for those in need.

“We just don’t meet the qualifications to provide that grant opportunity for our parents and students unfortunately,” Lumpkin said. “The free and reduced federal aid is still there. They just have to apply for it now.”

Parents or guardians of PRCES students will now need to fill out the Household Free and Reduced Meal application for the students to be considered for free or reduced meals.

The cost of meals is $1.50 for breakfast and $2.75 for lunch at full cost or $0.30 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch at the reduced cost.

PRCSD Food Service Administrator Sheila Amacker said in a written statement to the Item that PRCES no longer meets the requirement to renew the four-year contract for the Community Eligibility Program.

Amacker stated that a minimum of 40 percent of enrolled students must be categorically free for the contract to be renewed, and categorically free students must fall into the categories of foster care, SNAP benefit recipient or homeless.

“There is no deadline for completing the Free and Reduced Meal Application, although those benefits are not available until the current school year application is submitted and approved,” Amacker wrote. “We encourage all households in need of this assistance to apply.  The fastest way to process applications is by completing the form online at our school district website.  Both online and paper copies for the upcoming school year are now available.”

Applications can be completed online at prc.k12.ms.us or picked up in-person at the PRCES office between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.