Polk’s elementary schools to offer free breakfast, lunch

Published 10:00pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

By Claire Sachse
Free breakfast and lunch is now available to all Polk County elementary school students thanks to the Community Eligibility Provision, a grant-funded program sponsored by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

All students in Polk County’s four elementary schools, regardless of whether they are eligible for free or reduced lunches, are covered under this one-year grant. There is no paperwork to submit. Students may eat as many or few meals as they want. The program started on the first day back to school, Aug. 25.
“The board [of education] approved this for one year for elementary school students only,” said Bill Miller, superintendent of Polk County school system.
“If this works, we will take another look at doing this for middle and high school,” he added.
In Polk County’s elementary schools, the number of children receiving free and reduced lunches ranges from 50 to 70 percent, according to Charlotte Sullivan, finance officer for the school system.
At the middle and high school levels it becomes more difficult to get an accurate measure of students who qualify. But, according to Sullivan, in the 115 school districts across the state, most are trying this program in most if not all of their schools from elementary through high school.
“This will definitely help families,” said Sullivan.
“The theory is that this will get more kids to eat,” said Miller. “This is good for families, this is good for everybody.”

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