Unemployment and increased use of federal benefit programs due to COVID-19 means that more schools are now eligible to use CEP!
What is CEP?
- The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students – essentially becoming Hunger-Free Schools.
- More than 106,000 students in Maryland attend one of 242 Hunger-Free Schools; hundreds more are CEP-eligible, but not yet participating.
What are the benefits of CEP?
- All students have universal access to school breakfast and lunch.
- No unpaid school meal debt or school lunch shaming.
- No need to collect school meal benefit applications.
- Lower rates of food insecurity for students and their families. (Source)
- Improved student attendance.
What does COVID-19 have to do with CEP?
- Because of COVID-19, CEP will be financially viable for many more schools this year.
- Students enrolled in TANF/TCA and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are automatically certified for free school meals and are counted in their school’s “Identified Student Percentage,” or ISP.
- A school, or group of schools, must have an ISP over 40% to participate in CEP.
- SNAP applications in Maryland quadrupled in just the first month of the pandemic.
- The more students enrolled in SNAP, the higher the school’s Identified Student Percentage (ISP).
Why is ISP so important?
- In CEP schools, federal reimbursement for meals served is based on the ISP multiplied by 1.6.
- The higher the ISP, the more federal reimbursement schools receive.
- A school with an ISP of 63% or above receives the maximum federal reimbursement for all meals served.
Why do schools need to consider CEP now?
- The deadline to elect CEP has been extended to August 31, 2020.
- This year, schools can use post-pandemic ISP data from April, May, and June 2020 to set their poverty rate.
- Schools that elect CEP now can lock-in their poverty rate (ISP) for four years.
- Contact your school district’s Food and Nutrition Services Department for more information about which schools are being considered for CEP in the coming 20-21 SY.
No Kid Hungry’s CEP Advocacy in Baltimore County Public Schools
- More than 70 organizations and individuals signed on to this letter urging the election of CEP in July 2020
- No Kid Hungry submitted these comments to the Board of Education on July 13, 2020 to encourage their support for CEP
- Baltimore County Public Schools CEP Statement 7 16 20
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