Hattiesburg public schools offer free lunch for all students

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Starting this school year, Hattiesburg Public Schools will provide free lunch for all of their students.

Because the district qualifies for federal funding, it can skip the application process for free and reduced lunch. Last year, 88-90% of students fell into this category but now all students will receive a free lunch.

"We all want our children to receive nutritious lunch and breakfast during school because it has so many benefits to their academic success," said Stephanie Hoze, Child Nutrition Director for HPS. "So this is just one way the USDA is trying to assist districts that already have high poverty enrollments."

The district will be federally reimbursed for each lunch, allowing the additional funds to go toward providing a variety of nutritious options.