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More Duval County Students Get Free Breakfast, Lunch, Under New Federal Progam

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Kids in more than half of Duval County Public Schools can now get free breakfast and lunch whether their families qualify for public assistance or not. 

This year, more than 80 public schools in Duval County Public Schools are serving students breakfast and lunch free of charge.  The program is called the Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP.

According to Mark Dingee with the district’s food service, schools that qualify for CEP must have at least 40 percent of kids coming from families that receive Food Stamps or Welfare. 

“The theory behind the program is, if you have this many students that qualify for direct certification, you’re in an economically depressed region, and therefore, the entire school would qualify,” Dingee said.

Duval County qualifies for CEP for three more school years.

But there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

CEP is part of the federal government’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 which has reportedly received 4.5 billion dollars for new programs like this one.

In addition to easing hunger, federal official say CEP also helps alleviate the stigma associated with the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.