School meals free in counties impacted by Hurricane Irma

Free school meals are available within Florida counties impacted by Hurricane Irma.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced on Monday the U.S. Department of Agriculture accepted a request to allow all students in 48 counties -- subject to a FEMA Major Disaster Declaration -- access to free school meals through the National School Lunch Program.

The offer will be in effect from September 18 to October 20, according to a press release.

All students in the following counties can access free school meals through the program: Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, Broward, Palm Beach, Glades, Hendry, Sarasota, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Brevard, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Polk, St. Lucie, Seminole, Sumter, Volusia, Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Nassau, Suwannee and Union.

The department is requesting additional flexibilities as counties are being declared major disaster areas and as requests are submitted by counties. Additional counties could be added to the waiver in the coming days.

Parents or guardians can find additional information on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website or contact the department at 1-800-504-6609 or