Westside Offers Free Meals for Students Through 2020


Claire Benson

Westbrook and Westgate will receive free lunch under the Nebraska Department of Education’s Community Eligibility Provision.

The district released an email discussing lunches for the remainder of 2020. Due to extra funding as an extension of the CARES Act set in place because of COVID-19, for the remainder of this calendar year, all breakfasts and lunches will be free for pick up at Westbrook and Westgate. These meals can also be taken home for extended campus learning. 

The new program will allow students to have the opportunity to have one full meal for breakfast and one full meal for lunch completely free of charge. The only exceptions of this new change are extra food, bottled water, drinks other than milk and grab and go items. All students qualify for this lunch program. The free lunch will run retroactively as of Sept. 1. While this program will feed students for free for the remainder of the calendar year, the district recommends that families look into the free and reduced lunch program they offer once this program ends. 

One difference is that students at Westbrook and Westgate will receive free lunch under the Nebraska Department of Education’s Community Eligibility Provision. 

This will stay in effect for the entire school year.” The district stated in an email. “We will provide 1 day or 5 days worth of lunch or breakfast and lunch for each child in your household, depending on need. Pick-up times are 8:30-12:30 each Wednesday at your child’s school.  There is also a 4:00 PM-6:00 PM pick-up option for K-8 students at the WMS and WHS and West Campus students at WHS. When you arrive, please tell the front office you are there to pick-up meals, and a nutrition service member will bring the meals to you.” 

 Director for Nutrition Services Erin Vik said they had a similar program in place that started last school year. 

“This program is an extension of the program started in the spring,” Vik said. “The schools qualified because we participate in the free or reduced lunch program, and Westbrook and Westgate are qualified for a longer extension under the community high eligibility program. 

Vik said Westside is planning on continuing the free lunch program until funding runs out, or qualifications for the program change. 

“Anytime we can provide physical savings, stop stress, and provide food while in school will help keep stress levels in the home lower, especially during this tough time,” Vik said.