WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. —
Students in the Williamsport Area School District will no longer have to worry about food at school. Thanks to a national program, lunch and breakfast will be free.
"The Community Eligibility Provision allows students across the United States to participate in a free breakfast or lunch program," said Wanda Erb of the Williamsport Area School District.
The program is funded by state and federal money. Eligibility is determined by the need in a particular school district. There are around 4,800 students in the Williamsport Area School District, and about 70% of those families require assistance from the federal government.
"40% of your student body needs to be certified directly by the federal government. Meaning they receive food stamps or some type of health insurance from the federal government," added Erb.
All students, regardless of income status, will be eligible for two free meals per day when school begins on August 29.
"No catch. There is no application that parents have to complete and it reduces the administrative paperwork for us. There is no unpaid meal balances we are trying to collect from parents," she said.
The school district wants to keep young minds fed during school.
"Research has shown that students who are fed do better in school. Williamsport is looking for programs to keep our students well nutritioned as well as well educated," Erb said.
District officials tell Newswatch 16 that the free meal program will remain in place for the next four years. After that, the district will have to reapply.
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