LOW MOOR, Va. – On July 1, Covington City Schools, Alleghany County Public Schools, and the Jackson River Technical Center merged administratively, paving the way for a new era of education in the area.
Now, the schools are offering their students something a lot of people will be grateful for: free lunches.
On Monday, the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division announced that all students enrolled in the system for the 2022-2023 school year will receive free breakfast and free lunch, thanks to the federal Community Eligibility Provision.
According to their release, the Community Eligibility Provision allows schools participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture meals program to offer free breakfast and lunch.
The provision was made available to eligible schools nationwide in 2014 as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the release said.
Eligibility for the provision is based on the overall income level of students’ households as a group, and after the administrative merger, all schools in the division now qualify, according to the release.
“This is great news for our community because CEP eligibility will enable us to provide nutritious breakfasts and lunches to all of our students free of charge,” said Debra Buckner, division cafeteria manager for Alleghany Highlands Public Schools. “We know that many families are struggling with the economy, and CEP eligibility will help put a little extra money in their pockets. Plus, we get the added benefit of knowing our students will be fueled up by these nutritious meals and ready to learn,”
AHPS said they will send out letters to inform parents about the free meals, and that the households are no longer required to fill out forms for school meals.
“We are very pleased that our school nutrition staff is able to offer this opportunity to our students. Not every school division in the Commonwealth is qualified for this program, and we are thankful for our nutrition staff for their hard work in planning for and preparing the meals,” said school division leaders Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson in a joint statement.
Students enrolled in Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division will head back to the halls on August 17.