State opting out of summer food program does not affect Oxford’s summer meals for kids

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024

Gov. Tates Reeves’ recent decision to opt out of a federal program that would provide food to children over the summer months will not affect the Oxford School District’s summer meal program.

Earlier this month, Reeves said Mississippi won’t participate in a federal summer EBT food program for children this year.

The Summer EBT program would provide the families of students who receive free or reduced lunch during the school year with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards that can be used to purchase groceries in the summer. For each eligible child, families would receive $40 per month for a total of $120.

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The Oxford School District offers free breakfast and lunch to all area children, whether or not they attend school in the district, up to age 18. The meals are served Monday through Friday all summer when school is closed.

Adults can purchase meals for $2 for breakfast and $4 for lunch.

That program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will continue this summer, according to Daniel Westmoreland, director-Good Food For Oxford Schools.

“We plan to operate as normal,” he said recently.

Thirty-five states, all five U.S. territories, and four Tribes will be participating in the program for its first year, according to a story in Mississippi Today.

Mississippi previously administered the program during the pandemic and at that time, it was fully funded by the federal government. If Mississippi decided to continue the program this summer, the state would have to cover half of the administrative expenses.