Community Eligibility Provision, also known as universal free meals, is a viable option to make nutrition accessible to all children enrolled.
Schools that meet some basic guidelines can provide free lunch and breakfast to every student in their school.
Unlike the free or reduced-priced meals program that looks at each family to determine their eligibility, Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) looks at the whole school and/or district to get a picture of the community’s economic health. Every year, school districts calculate their Identified Student Percentage (ISP). ISP takes into account the number of students in the school participating in programs like SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, or are considered at risk of hunger (because they are homeless or in foster care, for example). If this number is greater than 40%, the school qualifies for CEP and every child eats for free.
Thank you to the Kansas Health Foundation, Food Research and Action Center, MAZON, and the Tides Foundation for supporting this work.