RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. — Beginning this Friday, May 8, Sodexo's Richland School District Two dining services are expanding its COVID-19 emergency feeding program to include weekend meals for students. 

In addition to normal Friday meals, children will now be given two additional breakfasts and lunches for Saturday and Sunday for the remainder of the school year.

Meals are available to all students under the age of 18 who reside in the Richland Two attendance zone, regardless of their free and reduced meal eligibility status. 

The addition of weekend meals will help fill the void for children who may not have access to healthy, balanced meals outside of regular school feeding operation days. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, upwards of 11 million children in the United States live in food insecure homes, a number that could likely be growing given the current national health and economic crisis. With over half of students eligible for free and reduced meals, Richland School District Two is not immune to this statistic. 

"We recently learned that a waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture was available to expand our emergency feeding program to include weekend meals, and quickly worked to get approved so we could get these meals into the hands of students who need them the most," said Sodexo Richland School District Two Senior Operations Manager Jeff Clarke. 

Emergency meals are available at eleven school feeding sites throughout the district, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. through 1 p.m. as well as at a variety of community sites. Families can enter their address HERE to find the most convenient site. 

"Right now we are set to feed students through the end of the school year, but we are working on a plan and are hopeful that we will be able to continue providing meals throughout the summer. As soon as plans are solidified, we will release details," added Clarke. 

The district has served nearly 125,000 meals since the beginning of the COVID-19 Student Feeding Program.