Upshur Schools provide meals to students at no cost

BUCKHANNON — Students in Upshur County will once again have the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch at school at no cost through a program called the Community Eligibility Provision. 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.

The CEP serves as an alternative to collecting, approving and verifying household eligibility applications for free- and reduced-price eligible students in high-poverty Local Education Agencies. If at least 40% of a school’s students are directly certified for free meal benefits, the entire school qualifies for the option.

“I am proud that Upshur County Schools will be participating in the CEP program to help meet a crucial need for many students in our county,” said, Dr. Sara Stankus, superintendent of Upshur County Schools. “We know academic achievement increases when our students are well-fed and ready to learn, and we must provide secure and reliable access to nutritious meals so all students have a chance to achieve at the highest level possible.”

Upshur County expects to have all nine eschools participate in the CEP.

The 2017 Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap data reports high levels of food insecurity and hunger across the country. In West Virginia, more than 14% of residents, and over 79,000 children, live in food insecure households.