‘Hard times’ help 13 more schools in Paducah area join about 20 in federal program that gives free meals to all students

Thirteen more schools in the Paducah area will offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students under a provision of the federal school-lunch program, joining about 20 others in the region, reports Genevieve Postelthwait of The Paducah Sun.

“Schools that are new to the program include Hendron-Lone Oak, Calvert
City, Lowes, Wingo, Graves Central and North Livingston elementary
schools; Fulton County elementary and middle school; South Marshall,
Livingston and Ballard County middle schools, and Ballard Memorial,
Fulton County and Graves County’s Gateway Academy high schools,” Postlethwait writes.

“They will join a group of about 20 other area schools that have
qualified for and opted into the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a
component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that allows
high-poverty schools to provide two square meals a day for all students
at no cost to parents. . . . CEP schools must have 40 percent or more of their students “direct certified” as at-risk for food insecurity through state data. Direct-certified students include those whose households participate in
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families Cash Assistance (TANF) or Medicaid, as
well as those who are in foster care, a Head Start program, or are
homeless or migrant children.”

In Ballard County, where all schools now have free meals, Food Service Director Amber Hayes told Postlethwait that CEP has made a difference has been critical for parents on “the bubble” because of layoffs at a paper mill, the U.S. Enrichment Corp. plant and the Honeywell Inc. plant in Metropolis, Ill., across the Ohio River from Paducah. “Good-paying jobs are hard to find,” she said. “Some parents are
making too much to qualify for most assistance programs, but it’s still
not enough.” (Read more; subscription required)

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