Three area schools receive grant funding to provide free meals


GRAFTON—Students will be heading back to school this week, and children at three Taylor County Schools will be provided meals at no cost for the 2018-2019 school year.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in West Virginia, over 14 percent of residents live in food insecure households, and the United States Census Bureau reports that approximately 100,000 children, more than one in four kids, live below the poverty line.

With those staggering numbers, Director of Child Nutrition Donette Nines wants to make sure that students in Taylor County have access to nutritious meals.

“Many of you may know that numerous studies have shown that students are able to learn better when they’re well-nourished,” commented Nines. “Eating healthy meals has been linked to higher grades, better memory and alertness and faster information processing.”

Last year, during a Board of Education meeting Nines reported that Taylor County Middle School was added to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program.

Nines stated that everything from last year, in regard to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) status, will remain the same.

“Anna Jarvis Elementary School, Flemington Elementary School and Taylor County Middle School all qualified for CEP status again this year, so students will continue to receive free meals,” reported Nines.

During that meeting, board member Douglas Flohr said, “This is great news for the kids and I greatly appreciate what you have done.”

According to www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/community-eligibility-provision, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas.

The CEP program allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students, without collecting household applications.

How this works is the schools that adopt CEP, are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Last year, at the meeting Nines told the board that the county was participating in the CEP program.

She revealed that 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.

She also reported the program allows the school system to feed approximately 1,500 students each day.

Nines shared that parents with students at Grafton High School or West Taylor Elementary School can obtain a 2018-2019 Free and Reduced Meal Application by visiting www.schoolcafe.com., or they can contact the Child Nutrition Office at 304-265-2497 ext.19.

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