There’s no such thing as a free lunch — unless you’re a school-aged child living in Boston or any one of the eight areas covered by the Food Research and Action Center’s Community Eligibility Option program.
On Tuesday, Boston became the latest area to offer the program in its schools, which allows all students to eat free breakfast and lunch on campus, according to a Boston Public Schools press release.
Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan have all offered the programs since the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. Washington, D.C., New York, Ohio and West Virginia began offering the program last year. Georgia, Florida, Maryland and Massachusetts are slated to participate in 2014.
Starting in 2014, all schools across America that have 40 percent or more of its students qualifying for free meals will be eligible for the program.
The Community Eligibility Option program is a part of the National School Lunch Program in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. According to the USDA’s website, the Act’s “focal point” is improving child nutrition. The legislation behind it authorizes funding for a variety of nutrition programs across the country.
Through this program, all BPS students will be allowed to receive the normal $2.25 and $2.50 school lunches (elementary student pricing and middle school student pricing, respectively) for free.
“Children can focus on learning when they are well-fed, and families can focus on education when they don’t have to budget for school meals every week,” BPS Interim Superintendent John McDonough said in a press release.