Houston School District Responds To Hurricane Harvey By Offering Free Meals All Year

"This waiver will give our families one less concern as they begin the process of restoring their lives."

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey's devastation, students in Houston will have one less thing to worry about as they head back to school this year. According to USA Today, the Houston Independent School District will offer three free meals a day to all students for the entire 2017-2018 school year.

The district received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture to waive the application process for the National School Lunch/Breakfast Program.

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Despite the waiver, parents are still being asked to complete the application, available here. "The information received in the forms helps the district to secure funding and track student data," HISD explained in a press release.

According to Mashable, Houston Police has estimated that 3,500 people have been rescued in the midst of flooding caused by the storm, and the Red Cross reported that 17,000 people were in shelters on Monday night. As the city and its surrounding areas get back on their feet, this latest news is a welcome relief.

"The flooding that is affecting the city of Houston has been devastating to so many. Some of the areas that are the hardest hit are filled with working parents whose limited funds will need to go toward recovery efforts," HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza said of the decision. "This waiver will give our families one less concern as they begin the process of restoring their lives. It will also provide a sense of normalcy by allowing students to have access to up to three nutritious meals each and every school day."

According to the Houston Chronicle, more than 35 schools have been damaged by the storm. This week, the school district announced that it would delay the start of the school year by two weeks, with students returning to class on September 11. Seven schools will reportedly re-route students or start later.

The waiver for free meals will go into effect as soon as school resumes. According to the district's announcement, the decision will affect 218,000 students. As Carranza explained, "All HISD students will have access to good food, made with as many local and fresh ingredients as possible and served with love and a smile."

At a time like this, that's sure to mean a lot.

Cover image: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

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