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All HISD Students Eligible for Free Meals This School Year, District Says

The district is now eligible for a USDA program that allows HISD to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner at no charge to all students

Houston Independent School District’s Nutrition Services announced that all students will eat meals at no charge during the 2018-2019 school year.

Houston ISD announced Monday it will provide free meals to all students in the 2018- 2019 school year, regardless of economic status.

The district said in a press release it’s schools will be operating under a U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service program, called Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The program provides free meals for students at high poverty schools and districts. Eligibility for schools is based on the percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced meals, through programs like SNAP. 

According to the Houston Chronicle, about 75 percent of HISD’s over 200,000 students qualified for free or reduced-price meals last school year.

HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said CEP will also help remove the social stigma from students who qualify for free or reduced meals, because the meals will be available to all students. 

“We are committed to providing students with as many opportunities as possible for them to get complete, healthy meals. This program expansion allows us to remove a roadblock to that access for many of our students,” HISD Nutrition Services Officer Betti Wiggins said, in a press release. “It also allows us to grow our program in a way that help us to better serve our students.”

HISD said it has already provided free breakfast to all students, since 2009. It also has had a free dinner program at over 178 schools.

The Houston Food Bank said this summer, it has been serving a record number of meals for food insecure children in the Greater Houston area.

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