Vance County Schools to keep lunches to a 'minimum' to conserve food, funding during government shutdown

VANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Vance County Schools said it will be making some changes to lunch menus in an effort to conserve food and funding during the government shutdown.

On Tuesday, officials posted to Facebook saying that they plan to keep lunches at a "minimum level."

Starting Jan. 21, each lunch will include one main dish, bread, two vegetables, one fruit, and milk. Vance County Schools said the rationing is taking place because federal funds go toward buying food that meets the Vance County Schools Nutrition Program. The program is funded through a reimbursement by the Federal Government. A total of 95 percent of the program's budget is provided with this money. Federal reimbursements for student meals are usually received in this district 30 days after the meals are served.

A spokesperson with the school sent the following statement about the decision:

"With the changes we are making to our lunch menus with the continuing federal shutdown, our school system is being proactive to stretch resources and provide quality food service to our students. All students will continue to receive breakfast and lunch at their schools."

Vance County Schools said on Jan. 12, the USDA notified school districts that federal funds were only available through March.

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The school did say fresh produce will no longer be included in meals, except at elementary schools as part of the Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program; however, even that program will be decreased to two days a week.

No bottled drinks such as water or juice will be available after the current stock is used. Ice cream will not be available either.

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"We hope that normal lunch menus can be resumed as soon as possible once the shutdown has ended," the post ended.

The Vance County School System said it has one and a half months of funding reserves on hand to support the child nutrition program once funding is no longer available through the USDA.

"We recognize that we must plan to make the most of our resources and that we have a responsibility to meet the needs of our children. Our priority is ensuring our students receive breakfast and lunch every day and that continues to be the priority of the school system."
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