Southern earns CEP eligibility

Free breakfast, lunch available to all students

Staff Report

RACINE — The Southern Local School District recently was accepted for the Community Eligibility Provision or CEP for Southern High School. The approval from the Ohio Department of Education means that all Southern students on-campus will now receive a free breakfast and a free lunch.

“It has been my goal for some time to achieve this for our entire district,” said Superintendent Tony Deem. “Southern Local is pleased to be able to offer both a free lunch and free breakfast to all students.”

“This will be the first year in a four year cycle,” Deem said. “For four years all students preschool through 12th grade will eat free.”

Federal Programs Director Scott Wolfe said, “We have had the CEP from preschool up to and including 8th grade for the past four years. Finally, the numbers were there to qualify the high school. This is a great opportunity for our students and will be a big boost to the families of our students. Most importantly no child should go home hungry.”

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s neediest schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications.

Just recently FRAC (Food Research and Action Center), one of Southern’s Partners in the Breakfast in the Classroom program, announced that it will be doing a case-study on Southern Local and using the district as a model for the Midwest region. FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and under-nutrition in the United States.

In the fall of the 2018-19 school year, the Southern Local School District implemented the Breakfast in the Classroom program district-wide to its 740 students. This came after a trial run of the program in the kindergarten and preschool the previous year.

Last spring, Southern received the prestigious Champion of School Breakfast Award from the Ohio School Breakfast Challenge. Southern was recognized by Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine for its innovative and collaborative school breakfast practices, including their commitment to increasing school breakfast participation. Southern received an engraved crystal breakfast bowl and a letter of commendation from the Ohio Department of Agriculture for their excellence and innovation of school breakfast service. Deem and Wolfe accepted the award with Ohio Hunger Alliance representative Sonja Hill-Powell, a Southern graduate.

The Southern Local School District is dedicated to ensuring that all students start their day with a healthy breakfast. The Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom grant provided equipment, and updates to the menu enabling students to have easy access to breakfast and more breakfast choices.

Southern was selected to participate in the fourth phase of the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom program, which is a joint initiative from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), National Association of Elementary School Principals Foundation (NAESPF), the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), and The NEA Foundation – collectively known as the Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom. The Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom is sponsored by Walmart.

Even though Southern will be on the CEP — free lunch/breakfast for all-program — students from middle school to high school will have the opportunity to buy smart snacks, extras when available, and other items from the lunch program at a nominal cost. Students will still have lunch accounts just as they have had in the past.

Payment can be made via a Pay Pams account or by sending cash, preferably paid ahead of time. Cash payment should be made to the cashier with money in an envelope, child’s name, child’s homeroom, date, and amount of money included. Checks made payable to Southern Local are preferred.

Students who wish to bring food from the outside must do this when they arrive in the morning. Children may bring their lunch in the morning. Food will not be permitted to be dropped off for students during the day or at lunch; and students are not permitted to leave during lunch period because Southern Local maintains a closed campus. Not following these guidelines could cost the district its charter with the NSLP, National School Lunch Program. Administration notes that in the case of an emergency where a child has forgotten his lunch, a lunch can be brought to school.

Teacher/Adult lunches are $3.60 and breakfast is $1.75.

The district urges parents to encourage children to eat a school lunch and breakfast every single day.

Information provided by Southern Local School District.

Free breakfast, lunch available to all students

Staff Report