North Carolina school district restricts lunch program due to ongoing government shutdown

A North Carolina school district is cutting back its lunch program amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

Vance County Schools announced it would serve lunch on a “minimum level” beginning on Jan. 21 — only providing one main dish, bread, two vegetables, one fruit and milk, it said in a Facebook post. No bottled water or ice cream will be available.

Fresh produce will also not be available for students in the district, except at elementary schools participating in the Agriculture Department’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, the district said.

“The Vance County Schools Nutrition Program for students is self-supporting with federal funds providing meals,” the district said. “We hope that normal lunch menus can be resumed as soon as possible once the shutdown has ended.”

The government partially shuttered on Dec. 22 — and has become the longest in history — with President Trump and Democrats at an impasse over funding for a border wall. Trump has demanded more than $5 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border which Democrats have denied.

ONGOING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN WON’T STOP FOOD STAMP BENEFITS IN FEBRUARY, USDA CONFIRMS

The Agriculture Department (USDA) is one of the Cabinet-level departments impacted by the shutdown. Under its National School Lunch Program, schools are able to get cash subsidies for meals. USDA also provides reimbursements under certain programs for meals given to qualifying children — money that many districts drastically rely on as they can’t use other accounts to provide those meals.

The USDA has said it has enough money to cover its lunch and breakfast program through the end of the month. It also scrambled to keep the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) available for recipients through February. However, some grocery stores are unable to accept SNAP benefits amid the shutdown.

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Vance County is in the northern part of the state and includes the towns of Williamsboro, Middleburg and Henderson.