K-8, Leak Street students to receive free breakfast, lunch

Approximately 5,120 students will benefit

Making positive eating choices just got a little easier.

Beginning this year, Richmond County Schools will participate in a new and innovative school nutrition program intended to encourage students to enjoy wholesome, nutritious meals at school while eliminating paperwork for parents.

RCSThe program, known as Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a means of ensuring students get the food they need to do their best at school. Recent studies reveal that when students are hungry, they are often distracted in the classroom, they are absent from school more often and score lower on standardized tests.

The program will allow all Richmond County Schools students attending kindergarten through eighth grade — more than 5,000 students — as well as 121 students at Leak Street High School to receive breakfast and lunch at school at no cost to the student or their household. Additionally, no school meal application is required.

According to Child Nutrition Director Lois Hood, breakfast and lunch served at school will follow U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines for healthy school meals.

“Meals will be lower in sugar, salt and fat, and higher in essential nutrients needed for students’ optimal growth and development and academic success,” she said.

School menus will be designed to appeal to students by including favorites such as healthy option pizza with whole wheat crust, low sodium and low fat, Asian Popcorn Chicken and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Hood added that the name Community Eligibility Provision is not a coincidence. It takes the whole community to support students as they achieve their best, she said, and reminded parents and families to take advantage of the program.

“This community-based program will only be as successful as the community that supports it,” she said. “The greater the number of students that participate in the program by enjoying breakfast and lunch at school, the more successful the program will be for achieving the academic goals of the district, so please encourage your children to participate in school meal programs.”

For more information about the Community Eligibility Provision program, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/community-eligibility-provision.

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) provides an alternative approach for offering school meals to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools in low income areas, instead of collecting individual applications for free and reduced price meals.

The CEP allows schools that predominantly serve low-income children to offer free, nutritious school meals to all students through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The CEP uses information from other programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families (TANF) instead of traditional paper applications.

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  • JB

    Free meals are not free.

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