Millions Of School Children In The US To Get Free Meals

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News in brief: The USDA has implemented a new policy lowering the threshold for free meals under the CEP program, potentially making millions of school children eligible and aiming to reduce childhood hunger and improve child health.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a new policy that will make millions of school kids eligible for free meals.

This new policy lowers the qualifying threshold for federally-funded school meals under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program from 40% to 25%. Thus, making an estimated 3,000 additional schools serving more than 5 million students eligible for the program.

The CEP program provides free school meals to all students at schools where more than 25% of families participate in public benefits programs like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

The new policy is expected to reduce childhood hunger and improve child health and student readiness.

Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack emphasised the ‘No child should go hungry’ policy of the government. He said that the change will help to ensure that all students have access to the nutritious meals they need to learn and thrive.

The policy change comes at a time when many families are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a news coverage says. During the pandemic, Congress had passed short-term legislation providing free school meals to all students. However, the program ended last year and several states are now taking action to ensure that students continue to have access to free meals at school.

California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Vermont have all made free breakfast and lunch available to all students regardless of parental income.

The USDA’s new policy is a welcome step towards ensuring that all American schoolchildren have access to the nutritious meals they need to learn and grow.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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