Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not extending Universal Free Meals, Bristol Township School District is continuing to serve free breakfast and lunch to all students. The district is approved to operate under the Community Eligibility Provision, a funding option of the National School Lunch Program, which enables schools to provide free meals to all students, regardless of income.
“The district is looking forward to CEP because it allows us to continue to feed our students free of charge,” said director of food services Brandon Lang. “Students are at the forefront of this program and it will be really beneficial for them and their families.”
By giving all students access to meals, it ensures that children are getting a nutritious breakfast and lunch five days a week, and helps address food insecurity with students receiving two meals a day.
Free meals will reduce financial strain and stress on families who are on tight budgets. Additionally, families no longer have to fill out applications and no action is required by families to participate.
“Every student will be treated equally and have the same access to meals,” said Lang.
CEP also reduces stigma and embarrassment that children may feel by participating in other meal programs.
BTSD is approved for CEP for the next four years and will reapply to continue the program. A la carte items, including snacks, second meals and extras, will still be available to purchase.