Coronavirus has forced Mississippi schools for the remainder of the school year, which leaves thousands of students without meals they depend on.

Nationwide, children who receive public assistance or live in homes with household income below 130 percent of the poverty level qualify for free lunch; as an example, about $34,000 for a family of four. Families between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level qualify for a reduced price lunch. This school year, 74.9 percent of public school students qualify for free or reduced lunch, according to data obtained by Mississippi Today.

While school buildings may be closed, districts across the state are continuing to offer meals on a “grab-and-go” basis, meaning any child under 18 can get a free meal. In some cases, districts are delivering meals along bus routes and at some sites, adults can purchase a lunch for a couple of dollars too.

Mississippi Today compiled a list of sites offering free meals for students which will be updated regularly:


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Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today team in January 2017 as an education and legislative reporter and advanced to a senior staff member in her four years with the company. Skinner most recently served as deputy managing editor before assuming the role of managing editor. Kayleigh has a bachelor’s in journalism from the School of Journalism and New Media from the University of Mississippi. Before joining Mississippi Today, Kayleigh worked at The Hechinger Report, Chalkbeat Tennessee, and The Commercial Appeal. She has appeared on MSNBC, NPR, and BBC Newsday Radio to discuss her reporting.

Aallyah Wright is a native of Clarksdale, and was a Mississippi Delta reporter covering education and local government. She was also a weekly news co-host on WROX Radio (97.5 FM) and collaborator with StoryWorks/Reveal Labs from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Aallyah has a bachelor’s in journalism with minors in communications and theater from Delta State University. She is a 2018 Educating Children in Mississippi Fellow at the Hechinger Report, and co-founder of the Mississippi Delta Public Newsroom.

Kelsey Davis Betz is from Mobile, Ala., and currently lives in Cleveland, where she worked as a Mississippi Delta-based reporter covering education and intersecting issues. Kelsey has a dual degree in journalism and Spanish from Auburn University and worked as an editorial intern at Texas Monthly and a courts reporter at the Montgomery Advertiser. She is a 2018 Educating Children in Mississippi Fellow at the Hechinger Report and is a co-founder of the Mississippi Delta Public Newsroom.