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Free meals for GDOE students

Posted: Aug 07, 2018 5:11 PM Updated:

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but that's changing this school year. The Guam Department of Education announces school lunches will be covered at no cost to all 41 public schools.

Only a week away from the start of Public School, and students should look forward to a few new things on their plate, including free lunch. "Our 30-31,000 students are eligible to come in every day, go to the cafeteria get breakfast, go there at lunch and get their lunch," said superintendent Jon Fernandez.

100% free meals, no strings attached. Fernandez says it's free for all students attending one of Guam's 41 Public Schools, thanks to the Community Eligibility Provision first piloted in 21 of 41 schools in SY 2014-2015. That provides approximately 12 million $ in federal funds.

Part of the United States Department of Agriculture National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, CEP was created to encourage students in need to eat without the stigma. "Sometimes kids don't like to be tagged as I'm a free lunch student, so there are reasons we thought students weren't eating because of that process," he continued. "We know anecdotally by the socioeconomic data we get that it's likely some kids are having a hard time getting access to regular meals and healthy meals."

According to Fernandez approximately 70-80% of GDOE students come from poor socioeconomic backgrounds. The goal goes hand-in-hand in providing quality education, as the superintendent said, "As we try to provide kids with an education we're also looking at their basic needs some of those issues relate to how we feed them. I'm very proud to be able to say no kid that comes to our school system ought to be hungry all day."

This year's Sodexo menu was also picked by students who chose healthy local favorites.

You can view the full list of school lunches on GDOE's website.

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