A new study published in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition finds significant benefits for students attending schools that participate in the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a program which allows schools in high-poverty areas to offer school meals at no cost to all students. CEP streamlines meal service and reduces administrative costs for schools while also eliminating stigma and school meal debt for students and families. The study finds that schools with CEP have lower rates of food insecurity, higher attendance rates, and more students advancing beyond 10th grade.
Below is a statement from Tam Lynne Kelley, senior manager for No Kid Hungry Maryland and one of the authors of the study:
“Our research found that students and their families are two and a half times less likely to face food insecurity if they attend a CEP school, as compared to students attending similar schools that are eligible but not participating in the CEP program – even after adjusting for race/ethnicity and education level of the parent.
These findings are important because we know that children in food insecure households are at higher risk of poor health outcomes, and more likely to be suspended or repeat a grade in school. Therefore, we recommend CEP as part of a broader strategy to improve education outcomes and public health.
CEP is particularly important for students in states like Maryland that have a high cost of living and thus many families earn too much to qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, yet not enough to make ends meet.”
There are 238 CEP schools across the state, including the entire school districts of Dorchester County, Somerset County, and Baltimore City. However, many more schools are eligible but not enrolled in this efficient and effective program. For a complete list, visit: https://state.nokidhungry.org/maryland/whatwedo/community-eligibility-provision-cep/
About No Kid Hungry
No child should go hungry in America. But 1 in 7 kids will face hunger this year. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger through effective programs that provide kids with the food they need. This is a problem we know how to solve. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of Share Our Strength, an organization working to end hunger and poverty. Join us at NoKidHungry.org