28 Muscogee County Schools will offer meals at no charge to all students. Director of Nutrition Marian Bone said to qualify for this federally funded program, more than 53% of students at the schools had to previously qualify for free or reduced lunches. She says this is a cost saving measure for the schools and less hassle for the parents.
Ebony Cochran, a parent of a Fox Elementary student, said not filling out paperwork will make it easier to get her daughter ready to go back to school.
"It makes me feel blessed that I know that my kids can go to school and eat free breakfast and free lunch and I don't have to worry about it," said Cochran. Marian Bone said more than 86% of students already received free meals at these schools.
"The kids will be able to go into school and not worry about if they have $2.00 or $2.25 and be able to know that they're getting a nutritious meal," said Bone. Fox Elementary Principal Penny Thornton said this will save money at her school.
"Anytime we can cut down on printing and save a few minutes of man power then it's certainly going to save money," said Thornton. The free meals not only benefit the school by reducing administrative costs. It also streamlines the process for parents.
"It makes me feel good that I don't have to go through all the changes and filing out the paperwork. I don't like filing out paperwork," said Cochran. Bone said it will also help because parents won't forget to fill out the paperwork anymore.
"A lot of times unfortunately, we have to spend a lot of time trying to collect charges where parents can't afford to pay for the meals, but we haven't gotten the application at the beginning of the school year. It will reduce on that as well," says Bone. More than 5,000 students will benefit from the program.
"I'm so excited because we know a hungry child cannot learn and we're able to provide nutrition," says Bone. Georgia is one of 11 states selected to pilot this program. It will be available in all schools across the country starting in 2015.
Here is a full list of participating schools:
Baker Middle School
Cusseta Road Elementary
East Columbus Middle
Forrest Road Elementary
Rigdon Road Elementary
South Columbus Elementary
Saint Mary's Elementary
Wesley Heights Elementary
1350 13th Avenue
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