On April 26, 2021, the USDA announced the continuation of making free meals to all students through June of 2022. The continuation is funded through the Summer Seamless program offered to all schools through the USDA and Oklahoma State Department of Education.
The Ponca City Public School participates in the National School Lunch Program, Summer Meals Program and has participated in the past with the Summer Seamless Program. In making the selection of programs in which to participate, it is entirely up to the district to select the program best suited for their student population. This option maintains the nutrition standards of the standard school meal programs – including a strong emphasis on providing fruits and vegetables, fluid milk, whole grains, and sensible calorie levels, while allowing schools to serve free meals to all children. In addition, schools that choose this option will receive higher-than-normal meal reimbursements for every meal they serve, which will support them in serving the most nutritious meals possible.
According to Ponca City Schools Child Nutrition Director Jeff Denton, the Summer Seamless Program appears to be the best option for the Ponca City Schools. “We, as a school district, believe that full access to a healthy meal at no cost to the student is in the best interest of our students and financially for the CNP program,” stated Denton.
The continuation for breakfast and lunch at no charge at all Ponca City Public Schools will be offered through June of 2022. Denton also added that West, East and the Senior High will also be offering healthy snack items or extra meals or components for purchase at a nominal charge for those who already have funds in their account.
Superintendent Shelley Arrott added, “We are so excited about this opportunity for all Ponca City Public School students and the students of Oklahoma! The global pandemic has put a hardship on many families, and l commend the USDA for making the decision to continue the offering of free meals to lessen the financial burden, while offering nutritious meals to our students.”