School is about to start and some parents have to worry about what their children will eat for lunch and breakfast.

However, Willows Unified School District will continue to offer free lunch and breakfast for all students during the 2019-20 school year at Murdock Elementary School, Willows Intermediate School, Willows Community High School and Willows High School.

The program is offered through the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. 

CEP is a nonpricing option for schools and districts in low-income areas, said Dina Ibrahim, district bookkeeper/cafeteria coordinator of the district, in a previous article. 

“CEP is important because it provides access to free nutritious meals for all students, without stigma,” Ibrahim said. “... There is no meal application for parents to complete (which) means less paperwork and no worries about student’s lunch accounts.”

Schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based percentage of students eligible for free meals based on their participation in other means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and a certain category of Medicaid, she said.

This also streamlines lunchtime for the students because there is less time spent in the cashier lines and it gives the students more time to enjoy their meal.

“With CEP, students will learn better, because nourished students are ready to learn and grow,” Ibrahim said.

For more information, Ibrahim can be reached at 934-6600. 

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