Breakfast, Lunch Now Free at Meridian Public Schools

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Meridian, Miss. Meridian Public Schools is offering free breakfasts and lunches to all students. This is made possible through the Community Eligibility Program, or CEP.

Now instead of households applying for aid through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the whole city qualifies through the CEP. Officials say the impact from this will be bigger than just kids having a full meal or parents saving a little money.

Donna Freyaldenhoven, MPSD Food Services Director, says, "It's a proven fact that when a child eats breakfast, that they aren't hungry. When they aren't hungry, you can learn. You can behave well and you stay healthy. This will definitely help our ultimate goal at Meridian Public Schools for academic achievement."

Also a major plus, according to the district, is that they will be healthy lunches. As long as the school meets a certain criteria for every lunch, the school is reimbursed for the lunch.

She says, "Any child going through the line must have a fruit or a vegetable to get a reimbursable meal. So a child will never leave the line without a fruit or a vegetable."

Even with criteria to meet, the school still lets the students have a choice as to what they put on their plates.

"We just say you can get two fruits or two juices or you can get a fresh fruit, or you can get a juice," Freyaldenhoven said/ "You can get a fixed fruit and a juice. You can get however you want. And that's for K through 12."

From the classroom to parents' pockets, this is expected to have a big impact for Meridian Public Schools.