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Molokai Schools Now Offer Free Meals for All

HIDOE News Release

This upcoming school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will expand a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from 30 public schools to a total of 52 across the state. This means the schools will serve free meals to all students, even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

On Molokai, Kaunakakai, Kilohana and Maunaloa elementary schools and Molokai Middle and High schools are among the 22 additional schools to now be included.

“We are very pleased to be able to expand this program to 22 additional schools statewide to provide free meals for over 8,500 more students,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The program helped over 18,000 students to receive free meals over the past two years and provided significant relief for many families.”

To qualify for the CEP program, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently, HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.89 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.44 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.94 in recouped cost for the state.

Under the program all students in the CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.89 reimbursement. While participating schools may no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.

For more information about the USDA CEP program visit: http://1.usa.gov/1iP9FQI. For details on HIDOE’s CEP pilot program, visit http://bit.ly/1Kh8SL1.

HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch has a website that will provide families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information visit http://bit.ly/1VX1OID.

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