THOMAS CO., Ga. (WTXL) - Students in Thomas County will no longer have to pay for their school lunches. All schools in the system are now part of a program that provides free meals. Students say it's a relief for their wallets and their stress.
School is back in session, but for many students, it's not grades they're most concerned about... it's their next meal.
"A lot of our kids, this is the only meal that they would receive," said Katie Eidson, Director of School Nutrition.
But students and parents don't need to worry about paying for school breakfast and lunch any longer, because this year they're free.
"I was really happy," expressed Thomas County senior Nigel Williams. "I don't have to ask my dad for lunch money anymore and I won't be late for lunch money anymore."
This is the first year Thomas county schools has been able to implement the Community Eligibility Provision for Free Meal Reimbursement in the high school.
"The federal government helps us because they reimburse," said Eidson. "It's not free, it's at no cost to the students, but we still have to pay for those meals."
Parents were notified of the reimbursed meals on the first day of school, calling in to make sure it wasn't a dream.
According to Eidson, "Several cheers. Asking, 'Is this really true? Is this really happening? This is a blessing'."
Eidson says she hopes the program will eliminate financial worries so more kids will focus on their grades instead of their lunch money.
"No kid, they shouldn't have to worry about paying," stated Eidson. "This should be something that they're privileged to do. So this is a wonderful, wonderful thing for us. We were excited. I was excited."
The school is locked in to the program for the next four years, with an additional goal to promote healthy eating.