During a visit to Perrymont Elementary School in Lynchburg last week, First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe announced a 139% increase in the number of schools participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a new provision from the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that allows schools with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. In the 2014-15 school year, 86 Virginia schools across 11 divisions participated in the CEP. As the First Lady announced today, that number has grown to 206 schools across 26 school divisions at the beginning of the 2015-16 year. In total, 56,000 more Virginia kids will attend a school participating in CEP, resulting in significant savings for hardworking families across the Commonwealth.
“I am thrilled that our administration’s efforts to expand adoption of the CEP across the Commonwealth are paying off,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe. “Thanks to the leadership of officials in federal, state and local government and groups like Virginia Hunger Solutions and Share Our Strength, thousands of Virginia students are getting the quality nutrition they need to learn and thrive in a Virginia public school. CEP is just one tool we are employing to end child hunger in Virginia, and our remarkable progress is an example of how public/private partnerships can effectively bring about positive change.”
“The impressive gains we’ve seen in adoption of the Community Eligibility Provision over the past year prove that we are addressing a critical issue in our communities,” said Secretary of Education, Anne Holton. “Families, teachers, and administrators throughout the Commonwealth are already seeing the benefits that come with ensuring our children are fed and ready to learn. We cannot expect our students to get the education or the skills they deserve if they aren’t receiving the nutrition they need.”
Schools that have adopted CEP have seen significant gains in both school breakfast and school lunch participation, ensuring students are getting the healthy meals they need to succeed in the classroom; among Virginia CEP schools, average daily participation in breakfast and lunch went up 11.9% last year.
2015-16 participating divisions include: Augusta Co. (1 school), Bristol City (5 schools), Brunswick Co. (5 schools), Chesapeake City (6 schools), Colonial Beach (2 schools), Danville City (12 schools), Franklin City (3 schools), Franklin Co. (3 schools), Fredericksburg City (2 schools), Greensville Co. (2 schools), Hampton City (9 schools), Henry Co. (10 schools), Hopewell City (5 schools), Lee Co. (6 schools), Lynchburg City (10 schools), Martinsville City (3 schools), Newport News City (7 schools), Norfolk City (23 schools), Petersburg City (8 schools), Portsmouth City (12 schools), Pulaski Co. (2 schools), Richmond City (44 schools), Roanoke City (19 schools), Suffolk City (3 schools), Sussex Co. (3 schools), Virginia Beach (1 school).
First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe has dedicated herself to ending childhood hunger in Virginia, identifying food security and nutrition as key elements necessary for educational success and building healthy communities. CEP expansion is one key strategy in that mission.