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Community Eligibility Provision First Step to Universal School Meals in Vermont

Ed. Note: This is a cross post from the blog of You can find the original post here.

Many kids aren’t getting the nutrients they need and some aren’t getting enough to eat at all. In an animated video produced by the anti-hunger advocacy organization, Hunger Free Vermont, Universal School Meals is presented as the solution for improving student health and academic performance, strengthening the local economy, and making schools a more welcoming place.

A universal school meals model would provide school meals to all students for free—eliminating the current model of income-based segregation in the cafeteria and leveling the playing field for all kids to receive the nutrition they need to focus and perform better in school. In this model, schools can build the meal program into the overall school curriculum, teaching kids about new foods and building healthy eating habits. Healthier children will help prevent healthcare costs both now and in the future when they become healthier adults—adults that had a better chance to learn in school because they were well-fed, resulting in a better educated and better trained workforce for improved business and economic development.

Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, schools across the nation—including many schools in Vermont—now have the option to implement a universal school meals model using a new provision called Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Thirty schools have signed up to implement CEP, reaching 7,000 students across the state. “This is good news for Vermont’s students that live in our communities with the highest need,” said Anore Horton, Child Nutrition Advocacy Manager at Hunger Free Vermont.

CEP helps schools leverage money to make it possible to offer universal school meals. The overwhelming response from schools wanting to use this universal model proves that our food service directors, school administrators, teachers, and parents understand what a difference this can make for their students and communities. For more information on Hunger Free Vermont’s vision for universal school meals in Vermont, visit School Meals Hub.