Local schools offer free meals to all students
MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. - Whether you are waiting at the bus stop with your child for the very first time or sending your youngest off to college, back to school time can be tough both emotionally and financially. All those supplies, clothes and lunches add up. Kid's eating habits play a huge role in education and some local schools are offering a new program that will save your family money.
Jonathan Elementary classrooms are getting prepared for back to school, and so is the lunch cafeteria. Healthy foods are not the only perk, Child Nutrition Director Beth Cunningham said Jonathan Elementary is one of two schools to qualify for a new program.
Cunningham said the new program is called, "Community Eligibility Option, to where every child in Jonathan Elementary and South Marshall Elementary will have free breakfast and lunch."
Melissa Miller is a parent of five and said the program will save her more than a thousand dollars. Miller said, "Over nine months, $1,400 is a lot of money." She said the new program came at the perfect time.
"Knowing how things are in our economy, and as hard as families are struggling right now, sometimes the best meals kids get are the meals they are getting as school," said Miller.
Cunningham said these meals are important because you can not learn on an empty tummy. She said, "To make sure they have fuel to learn, they can get it once they get to school and then they're ready for the day."
Miller said food and love make for a great learning experience. "Our kids when they walk in that door in the morning, they know they are loved and they are loved from the time they walk out the door," said Miller.
South Marshall Elementary School is the only other school in Marshall County that qualifies for the program. The CEO program is part of a federal program for schools that qualify based on financial eligibility. The program provides free meals to all students in schools where 40 percent or more of the student's families receive assistance through the Food Stamp Program.
Marshall County Superintendent Trent Lovett said the program will be re-evaluated after one year.
All schools in the Paducah City and Mayfield Independent systems have already adopted the program.