Education, Latest News

There is such a thing as a free lunch in Mon County schools

MORGANTOWN — There were more than a few times last year when Brian Kiehl didn’t know where his next meal was coming from.

At least that was how it seemed for the nutrition director of Monongalia County schools.

When schools were shuttered last year due to the pandemic, that move left whole populations of students truly wondering about the status of the food on their plates.

Or, the food not on their plates.

Those were who Kiehl was worrying over.

Because of household income, the students were able to take advantage of free or reduced meal offerings in their schools, which proposed a pandemic quandary. They were still in the same growling-belly straits — even if they were no longer in the building.

What a difference a few flips of pages on the calendar can make, the nutrition director said.

Tuesday is the first day of school in the county, and Kiehl said school cafeterias across the district will be buzzing like recess.

Free breakfast and lunch will be served this year to all students regardless of income status, he said.

Breakfast offerings range from cereal favorites to egg burritos.

General Tso’s chicken and homemade pizza are among the menu items for lunch, he said.

“We realize kids rely on these meals,” Kiehl said. “They’re a comfort to them. And we want to get our cafeterias back to where they were, pre-pandemic.”

Special dietary needs will be provided with a doctor’s note, Kiehl said. For more questions, call the district’s office of Child Nutrition at 304-291-9210, Ext. 1521.

Serving up the particulars

What follows is additional information from the USDA provided by Kiehl:

Household Free/Reduced applications are not required to receive free meals, but applications need to be filled out to collect household income data for other benefits, such as P-EB and Internet access, which require this information.

In accordance with federal civil rights law, plus USDA civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA and any organizations or people taking part in its programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age.

The directive also takes in reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by the USDA.

Those with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information, such as Braille, large-print, audiotape or American Sign Language interpretation, should contact their local or state USDA office.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form.

To request a copy of the complaint form, call 1-866-632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to the USDA federal offices.

The address is: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410.

Communication may also be faxed at 202-690-7442; or by email:

TWEET @DominionPostWV