During late August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it would provide funding to pay for all students in the Iowa Falls, Eldora-New Providence and Hubbard-Radcliffe school districts to receive free school meals (breakfast and lunch) during each school day.
Alden Elementary was not included in the announcement at that time, as district superintendent Tony Neumann said paperwork had been submitted but not approved yet.
Neumann said while the school was awaiting approval, Alden Elementary was already offering the free meals and receiving funds for the USDA Summer Food Service Program.
According to the USDA, the free meals will last through Dec. 31, or until funding runs out. The program is being made available through a flexibility added to the USDA's summer meal program. Schools that operate a summer meal program - providing free lunch to children 0-18, regardless of financial situation, through the summer months - can continue that program this fall. The extension was approved in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meals at Alden Elementary are being served Monday through Friday, and are available for pick-up from 11 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. People are encouraged to contact the school by 9 a.m. in order to reserve meals.
"I think for our families right now, to give them one less stress relief...we don't know what everyone's financial impacts are from this pandemic," Neumann said. "We were able to offer these meals right away and get the paperwork approved, and then they (USDA) back date it."