Calcasieu Parish School Board continues free meal program - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Calcasieu Parish School Board continues free meal program

(Source: Calcasieu Parish School Board) (Source: Calcasieu Parish School Board)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The Calcasieu Parish School Board has been offering the Community Eligibility Provision Program for four years. This year, Westwood Elementary is being added to the ever-growing list.

The program makes sure students in high poverty schools receive a healthy breakfast and lunch during the school day. Jaqueline Richard, director of School Nutrition Programs, says this has been a successful program over the years.

“It’s a great program for students and families who struggle to have a nutritious meal at school, free of charge,” said Richard.

Some residents in the community agree.

“There are kids whose parents work and can’t feed them, plus, there are kids without any money,” said one resident, Howard Campbell.

“Some parents can’t afford it, might as well let them have some food full of nutrition and ready to learn,” said another resident, William Welch.

The list is now 33 schools long and the board keeps adding more schools.

“To become eligible, a school would have to have a certain percentage of students identified directly by the state as participating in other income-based programs,” said Richard.

It's a federally funded provision of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. Parents don't have to fill out any forms - children just go through the normal lines in the cafeteria, leaving with a full belly and ready to learn.

“The students in the schools at the highest poverty level sometimes they need extra help and this program helps us to fuel them and make sure they’re ready to learn and make sure they have what they need to set them up for success,” said Richard.

And this program isn't only just for these 33 schools, students can still qualify on their own.

“Those parents and the students would have to fill out a meal application and then from there would qualify for free reduced or paid meals,” said Richard.

Richard says the biggest problem with that is the forms can get lost in translation. That’s why they have a new online application process.

Click HERE to access the online application.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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