Cabell County School officials kicked-off a new free meals program for students Tuesday by announcing all Huntington High School students will receive free breakfast and lunch starting Wednesday.
The Cabell County Board of Education recently voted that the entire district will receive free breakfast and lunch during the 2016-2017 school year free of charge. Huntington High will join 15 other schools already serving free meals. They’re part of the Community Eligibility Provision or CEP program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The remaining schools will begin in the fall of next school year. Cabell County Superintendent Bill Smith said the program is vitally important for the county.
"We have over 13,000 students in our district with a poverty rate over 50%, so if you think about the number of children who may not be getting nutritious meals on a regular basis this will serve their needs," Smith said. "We know a lot of our kids go home over the weekend and don’t have a really balanced meal till Monday morning when they come back to us. "
The CEP program is a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that allows schools and local educational agencies with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. With the addition of Huntington High School, Cabell County schools will claim 88% of all meals served in the CEP schools at the free federal reimbursement rate, meaning the more students that eat at school the more federal funding the country will receive.