Walker County Schools feeding its students for free beginning in fall

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Avery Lake

Walker County Schools is ensuring no child in its system goes hungry next year because it’s been approved for a grant that covers lunches for all of its students.

WCS Superintendent Dennis Willingham said the system applied for a Community Eligibility Provisions Grant earlier this year after WCS Child Nutrition Program Director Janell Aultman discovered its schools met most of the grant’s requirements.

“As (Aultman) was looking through that grant, she saw Walker County Schools checked most of the boxes,” Willingham said. “So she got with our CSFO and our federal programs director, really dug down into our data and determined that there’s a great shot that we would receive this grant from the USDA.”

A major factor in getting the grant is widespread poverty affecting Walker County’s students, Willingham said, and he hopes this move helps relieve some of the financial burdens parents are facing.

“There’s a lot of stress at home financially,” he said. “We know with a household that has two to three students, they’re sending these kids to school every day,  they’re paying for breakfast and lunch. We know what a tremendous impact this will have on our families and on our homes. We also know that if we have a happy home, we have happy schools.”

The grant will reimburse every meal served at Walker County Schools starting in the 2023-24 school year.

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