New Deal ISD to serve free breakfast, lunch to all students

New Deal ISD to serve free breakfast, lunch to all students

Posted:
NEW DEAL, Texas -

 

There are more than 600 students in New Deal ISD who will benefit from this program this fall.

"Even though they know they're going to get food, this just saves them embarrassment from saying, 'I don't have my money today, I'll bring it tomorrow,'" Matt Reed, New Deal Superintendent, said. "They just won't go through the line...so this just eliminates that."

At New Deal Elementary, 51 percent of students were eligible for free or low-cost meals last year, according to the Food and Reserach Action Center. Two in five at New Deal Middle School qualified, and more than a third of students at the high school were eligible.

"If you tell them, 'don't you charge, just eat when you get home,' this takes the burden away," John Salter, Food Service Director at New Deal ISD, said.

Salter is the one who presented the idea to the school board last spring.

"We saw a need," Salter said. "We met the requirements set by USDA and TDA for the community eligibility provision program, like Mr. Reed said, brought it to him and the school board, and they were 100 percent behind this."

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is part of the National School Lunch Program, the same federal program that provides those free or reduced-cost meals. Families normally have to submit an application and get approval for it, but with the CEP, they are no longer required.

"It's hard to educate a child when they're hungry, and that's one of their basic needs," Reed said. "We can provide that at school, a basic need, to feed them, and that's what we do. Some of our kids look forward to coming to school just to eat."

Kids often forget their lunch money, or parents forget to refill their accounts, Reed said. This new change will lift that burden.

Administrators say it is a win-win for both families and the school. The USDA will use a formula to pay back the district, based on poverty rates in the area. Last school year, the program fed nearly 16.3 million kids nationwide.

"That takes away that issue from families. You come to school everyday. You know you're going to get breakfast, you know you're going to get lunch, regardless if you have money in your account or not," Reed said.

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