Friday, October 18, 2013

Free School Lunch In Florida For Some Kids Who Can Afford It

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida --  Some Florida school children are receiving free lunch and breakfast at school without having to go through income verification thanks to a new federal program called the "Community Eligibility Option" authorized under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 signed by President Barack Obama.

"The Act will enhance our understanding of the causes and consequences of hunger and food insecurity among children and will help inform future policy decisions on effective means of program delivery," the USDA said in a memo to State Nutrition Directors.  "The Act also will help advance the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation, which is at the heart of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative."

"Schools and even entire districts can now receive free breakfast and lunch if 40 percent or more of students’ families are identified as low-income... Students whose families receive food stamps, cash assistance or are Head Start eligible automatically count towards a school’s qualifying percentage," reports. 

Florida is among a handful of states selected to participate in the pilot program.  According to Brevard County School spokesperson Michelle Irwin, the entire Brevad Public School district does not qualify for the program but BPS is currently piloting five schools and two Head Start programs under the Community Eligibility Option