A grant from the United States Department of Agriculture is helping schools in low income areas. It’s making sure students have healthy meals to eat.
It's the first day of school for students in Franklin County. Posted inside of the cafeteria is a menu for the rest of the month. It’s a menu without a price tag.
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from The United States Department of Agriculture is aiming to make sure students eat nutritious school meals. In Franklin County, Sontag and Rocky Mount Elementary Schools are benefiting from the program.
“We're trying to do something so that more kids can eat breakfast and lunch and they don't have to fill out applications, so that we can feed more children and have more kids go home with food in their stomach,” said Food Service Coordinator Heather Snead.
The grant isn't based on family income. It's based on families who get assistance from the supplemental nutrition assistance program or SNAP and temporary assistance for needy families or TANF benefits; students whose guardians are migrant workers or are homeless.
“If you don't have food in your stomach, then you can't learn. So it's important for everybody to be fed in our opinion,” said Snead.
At Rocky Mount Elementary, 52% of student families receive some type of government assistance. At Sontag Elementary, that number is at 53%. Both schools rank the highest with those percentiles in the school division. The school system is eligible to receive the grant for up to four years.
"I hope [this] will help for the people who want to fill out an application but haven't in the past, then this could maybe alleviate some of that burden on them," said Snead.
Students can opt to bring their own lunch.
The school will do a review to see if the program is needed for next year.