Free after-school meals available to Perry County students

Students are often involved in sports and other after-school activities that keep them on campus long after the last bell rings, and those kids can work up quite an appetite.

Now, students at Perry County Schools can get hot meals free of charge when they stay late.

The free meals are available to athletes, JROTC cadets, and any students involved in after-school activities.

The United States Department of Agriculture reimburses the school district through its Child and Adult Care Food Program.

"This was an opportunity to get those kids fed, at no cost to them, so it's helping those kids get good nutrition, a good hot meal," said Linda Campbell the school's child nutrition director.

The district qualified for the program because Perry County is identified as "at risk."

The same distinction allows Perry County schools to offer free breakfasts and lunches.

Perry Central High School has been serving up hot meals after school for about two weeks now, and students we talked to say they're already on board with the idea.

"I like it, I enjoy it. It gives me the chance to get a good meal before I work out and after," said junior Kassandra Smith.

The after-school meals are healthy, too, meeting the USDA's new school lunch nutrition standards.

School officials say the program is great for parents, because they won't have to worry about providing food for their children after school.

"We're very excited about it, and we're just really happy that we've got it going," said Campbell. "We've got very good support from our board and our principals and our cooks."

Making healthy meals a reality for hungry students after school, that's what officials say this program is all about.

So far, Perry County offers free dinners at every school except Chavies and Robinson elementary schools, but education officials say those schools could soon be included if there is enough demand for the program.

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