Students in Kanawha County will have the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch at school at no cost through a program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) during the 2018-2019 school year. The CEP was enacted as a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and provides universal meal service to children in high-poverty areas. This is the fourth year for the option and the second year that Kanawha County has been a countywide participant. Year-round schools in Kanawha County begin on Monday, July 9.
The CEP serves as an alternative to collecting, approving and verifying household eligibility applications for free- and reduced-price eligible students in high-poverty Local Education Agencies (LEAs). If at least 40 percent of a school’s students are directly certified for free meal benefits, the entire school qualifies for the option.
“I am proud that Kanawha County Schools will again be participating in the CEP program to help meet a crucial need for many students in our county,” said Dr. Ron Duerring, Superintendent of Kanawha County Schools. “We know academic achievement can only increase when our students have continual year-round access to healthy meals, are ready to learn and have the necessary tools to reach their highest potential.”
Kanawha County expects to have all 65 schools participate in the CEP. This school year all students in every school from pre-school to high school may receive a free breakfast and lunch. The program allows the school system to feed its roughly 26,500 students free each day.
The 2017 Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap data reports high levels of food insecurity and hunger across the country. In West Virginia, more than 14 percent of residents, and over 79,000 children, live in food insecure households.