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Community Eligibility cuts paperwork, increases student participation in Paterson
Paterson Food Service Director Dave Buchholz reports that the district’s implementation of the federal Community Eligibility Provision has gone off without a hitch – eliminating tons of paperwork and ensuring that more students eat nutritious meals at school.
“Once the provision was board approved, the word spread quite quickly,” he told the NJ Food for Thought Campaign. “Everyone obviously embraced the provision for what it offered…allowing kids to eat at no cost.”
Paterson saw slight increases in both breakfast and lunch participation, Buchholz said, “It was very nice after 20 years not to deal with applications this year,” he added. “Not having to handle applications has been a time saver and provided a cost savings to the department. To process thousands of applications on a yearly basis can be very costly. The money saved went towards other areas of our operation.”
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Haven't signed up for CEP yet?
This new federal option allows certain districts with high poverty to feed all children and receive increased reimbursements. The NJ Department of Agriculture has published a list of district that are eligible to participate. Find our if your district qualifies.
In addition, the New Jersey Department of Education has issued guidelines on how districts can replace the school meal application to ensure they receive the appropriate state and federal funding. Learn more here.
Community Eligibility is a win-win for districts and students. Districts can apply through the NJ Department of Agriculture's SNEARS (School Nutrition Electronic And Reimbursement System), where district officials can find a calculator to project reimbursements and determine if CEP is a feasible option for their districts. There is also a CEP webinar and power point presentation. Districts must apply no later than Aug. 31.
New Breakfast Grants Announced
Sustainable Jersey is offering $120,000 in grant funds for the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program from the New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) through its Maternal and Child Health Services. These grants can be used for health and wellness initiatives – including school breakfast -- in schools serving students in grades 6 through 12.
More NJ districts switching to breakfast after the bell
Every day, more New Jersey districts are making the switch from serving breakfast before school – when students have not yet arrived – to providing that all-important morning meal during the first few minutes of the school day. School officials report that once implemented, breakfast quickly becomes part of the morning routine. More students eat breakfast. They are better focused. Instructional time becomes more productive. And the entire school community benefits.Get help making the switch today!
The Food for Thought School Breakfast Campaign is a partnership of state agencies, child advocates, anti-hunger coalitions, statewide education organizations and national organizations.
Advocates for Children of New Jersey