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NC school district clarifies decision to drop lunches to ‘minimum level’ over government shutdown

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VANCE COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina school district announced Tuesday that they would bring school lunches down to a “minimum level” to ration out food supplies during the government shutdown.

“Due to the Federal Government Shutdown, lunch menus in Vance County Schools have been revised to a minimum level to conserve food and funding,” the district wrote in a Facebook post.

According to WTVD, the Vance County Schools Nutrition Program is typically supported through reimbursement from the federal government  with those federal dollars accounting for about 95 percent of the program’s budget.

On Jan. 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture alerted school districts that the federal funds will remain available only through March.

Vance County Schools said the district has enough funding reserves to sustain the child nutrition program for one and a half months after those federal funds become unavailable.

“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,” the district told WTVD in a statement. “All students will continue to receive breakfast and lunch at their schools.”

As a result, beginning next week, Vance County Schools will no longer include fresh produce in lunches except at elementary schools in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. That program, however, will also be reduced down to two days a week.

Bottled drinks, like water and juice, will only be available until stocks run dry.

No ice cream will be available until further notice.

With these changes, students can still expect to get a main dish, bread, two vegetables, one fruit and milk.

“We hope that normal lunch menus can be resumed as soon as possible once the shutdown has ended,” the district said.

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