Metro Nashville Public Schools will be providing free meals for all of its students this fall.
Starting in August, schools will be serving up breakfast and lunch free of charge to all students, regardless of their parents' income.
Some parents whose finances are already stretched thin said the announcement is a huge relief.
"Regardless of income or background or anything else, every student at Metro Schools will be able to receive free breakfast and lunch," said school spokesman Joe Bass.
The news was welcome to many parents like Amber Jackson, whose son will be in the third grade.
"Because it is kind of expensive for us and we have not qualified for the free and reduced lunch, we send his lunch to school every day," said Jackson.
She said she sent $2.25 for her son to eat once a week.
"Friday is normally a treat because he wants to eat lunch with his friends," said Jackson.
"This is a huge win for our families," said Bass. "It's going to help them with their budgets for sure."
The free lunch is being made possible through a federal program with the USDA. It's offered mostly to low-income school districts and Metro Schools meet the threshold with 75 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.
"There are a lot of families that may be right outside of the lines of qualification, but it's still a strain on their budgets," said Bass.
There is no application or signup for families. When school starts in August, all students will eat free.
The school system said it will be reimbursed for the meals by the federal government.
"This is the same type of system, only there is no income requirement," said Bass. "We will be reimbursed for almost 100 percent of all school meals."
The program is aimed at not only helping families' budgets, but also students' self-esteem.
"I think now that it's inclusive and provided to all, there will be no way to look at anyone differently," said Bass. "We'll all be equal."
There is no signup or income requirement to participate in the program, but the school system will still be collecting income information from parents to track eligibility.
Students will still have to pay for extra items outside of the basic lunch like extra milk or baked chips.
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