Free meals program at seven FS1 schools
Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act to allow for free breakfast, lunch for all students.
Students at seven schools in Florence 1 will receive breakfast and lunch completely free starting in the 2019-2020 school year, thanks to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. The seven schools are:
Dewey L. Carter Elementary, Henry Timrod Elementary, Wallace Gregg Elementary, Theodore Lester Elementary, North Vista Elementary, Greenwood Elementary, and Savannah Grove Elementary.
Under this provision, parents will not be required to fill out an application for the free or reduced cost meals program; students attending these schools will automatically receive free meals. However, if parents also have a child at a school not listed above they will need to do an application for that child, if they are requesting free or reduced cost meals.
Earlier this year, all Florence 1 schools were evaluated to determine whether they qualified under the provision. The evaluation process included determining what percentage of a school’s student population already qualified for free lunch without filling out a school meal application.
A student can be directly qualified, ‘identified,’ if they fall into several categories including being in foster care or a federally-funded Head Start program.
If the Identified Student Percentage (ISP), a calculation made using the number of students qualified for free lunch and the total enrollment at the school, was 40 percent or higher schools could qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision. The seven qualified schools in Florence 1 had an ISP ranging from 50.91 percent to 71.53 percent.
Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said that opting in for the CEP was a no-brainer.
“Providing students with a free nutritious meal at breakfast or lunch, or even both, just makes sense,” O’Malley said. “Our job as a district is to make sure that students are learning so that whatever path they take, college or workforce, they are successful. They can’t be successful if they are hungry.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s website there are many benefits to opting in for CEP including eliminating the stigma for students receiving a free or reduced cost meal, eliminating unpaid meal balances, ensuring all students have access to nutritious meals, and eliminating paperwork for parents.
Schools across the United States are participating in CEP including schools in surrounding districts such as Darlington County, Chesterfield County and Florence School District Two.
Breakfast and lunch meals follow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for healthy school meals. You may contact your School Food Service (SFS) office for additional information.
Parents or guardians who do not want their child/children to participate in CEP may wish to discuss this matter with Kaya Day on an informal basis.
Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request either orally or by sending a letter to Kaya Day at: Florence 1 Schools, 319 South Dargan Street, Florence, S.C., 29506.