No-charge breakfast and lunch starting at some AL schools - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

No-charge breakfast and lunch starting at some AL schools

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Students at some Alabama schools will get free breakfast and lunch due to a state and federal program (Source: WSFA 12 News) Students at some Alabama schools will get free breakfast and lunch due to a state and federal program (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Your child could get breakfast and lunch at school this year at no charge.

It's part of a state and federal program that reimburses schools with a high percentage of poverty-level students, so all students can get the nutrition they need.

June Barrett, the Alabama State Department of Education's Child Nutrition Program Coordinator, explains that in order for a school to be eligible, at least 40-percent of its students must fall into the "low-income" category. "What we're really focusing on is that every child has the opportunity to eat at least 2 good meals a day."

Montgomery Public Schools Spokesman Tom Salter says every school in the district will take advantage of this program. "We had, our population, 90% qualification rate… Unfortunately, we live in an area where poverty is prevalent, and we have a number of our families where finding out where the next meal is coming from is an issue."

What may be most encouraging about this provision is that EVERY student in a school will be offered meals at no-charge, taking away the stigma that often comes with free or reduced lunches. 

"It does not single out a child's income eligibility, it just gives a child the opportunity to eat," says Barrett. And Salter says, "Even students who aren't at the poverty level sometimes will skip a meal to save money for one reason or another, so this insures that all of our kids have a full tummy and aren't distracted in the classroom by being hungry."

The Community Eligibility Provision reimburses eligible schools with state and federal funds. It has already been implemented in 11 other states and about 4,000 schools. The 2014-2015 school year will be the first time it's available in Alabama. 

[DOCUMENT: List of Eligible Alabama Schools (.pdf)]

[DOCUMENT: List of Participating Alabama Schools (.pdf)]

Schools and school districts have been identified as eligible using information from programs like the supplemental nutritional assistance program and the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families.

There is no paperwork for students or parents. The provision only covers standard breakfast and lunch meals. Students will have pay the cost of any additional items. Visitors and faculty will also be charged for their meals.

Schools have until August 31st to opt into the program.

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