The Greenbrier County Board of Education is pursuing a plan to provide no-cost meals to students in all schools, pending approval of a Community Eligibility Provision application to the Office of Child Nutrition.
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Instead, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
“Greenbrier County Schools currently implements this program in seven of our schools and it has been wonderful,” states Board President Jeanie Wyatt. “We are thrilled to pursue this opportunity for all schools in our county. By providing free meals to all students, we eliminate the need for families to fill out paperwork and we increase participation in our school meal program,” continues Wyatt.
Greenbrier County Schools Director of Child Nutrition, Jenny Curry, is pleased to see the county moving in this direction stating, “I am excited about the possibility that Greenbrier County will be able to provide breakfast and lunch to all of our students at no cost. We know academic achievement increases when students are well fed and ready to learn. The CEP initiative has been successful in seven of our elementary schools and we look forward to expanding it county wide.”
If approved, the Community Eligibility Provision will be implemented with the start of the 2018-19 school year. The program is not retroactive and will not cover outstanding balances for school meals from previous years. All outstanding balances must be paid. This federal program requires annual renewal and implementation in Greenbrier County is contingent upon funding each year. Notice of the grant award is anticipated in July.