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CEP Program to Provide Free Meals to McDowell County Students

WELCH, W.Va. – Students in McDowell County will have the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch at school at no cost through a program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). 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.

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 McDowell County Schools will be participating in the CEP program to help meet a crucial need for many students in our county,” said, Carolyn Falin, Superintendent of McDowell County Schools. “We know academic achievement increases when our students are well-fed and ready to learn, and we must provide reliable access to nutritious meals, so all students have a chance to achieve at the highest level possible.”  

McDowell County expects to have all 9 schools participate in the CEP. This includes all High Schools, Middle Schools, Elementary Schools, and K-8 Schools. The program allows the school system to feed nearly 2636 students 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.

For more information contact: Perry Blankenship 304-436-8441, ext.222 or [email protected]