All Calcasieu students eligible for free meals next school year

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 2:40 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish School Board announce that all students will be eligible to eat breakfast and lunch at school next year free of charge.

The school board said the announcement comes after the United States Department of Agriculture deemed that all CPSB schools qualified for the Community Eligibility Provision.

“When schools and districts qualify for CEP and when all students can eat for free, we do get an increase in students that participate in school meals. And that is a really wonderful thing,” said CPSB Nutrition Program Director Jacqueline Richard.

Richard said that she hopes students will take advantage of the meals being offered so they are well fed and ready to learn.

“Data clearly links healthy meals and students participating in school nutrition programs to student success,” said Richard.

Many schools in the district were already eligible and enlisted in the program, but now, the whole district qualifies.

“We know that some of our students come to school hungry. And we know that sometimes our breakfast and lunch are the best meals that they’re going to get that day.”

Students that are participating in SNAP or TANF benefits or are homeless, migrants, runaways or foster students, are directly certified to receive free meals. Richard said the disaster snap benefits after Hurricane Laura was the key component for the entire district qualifying for the free meals.

“If 40% or more of students eligible to receive free meals through directly certified means, then the entire school is eligible for free meals,” said Richard.

The school board says no action is necessary for students to participate, and families who normally complete meal applications will not need to do so this coming year.

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