Harlingen will offer free meals to students starting this fall

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POSTED: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 5:06pm

UPDATED: Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 10:03am

Meals will be free, because beginning this fall, the Harlingen School District is expected to implement the Community Eligbility Program.

"It's a federally funded provision for high poverty schools to offer free lunch for our students, for all students, without the burden of having to take meal applications," said HCISD Director of Child Nutrition Judy Baker.

Right now, lunch is $1 everyday for the elementary and middle schools and $1.10 for high schools. Up until now, HCISD has worked out payment methods for students who really need it.

"We do offer free lunch for certain students that qualify today, and there's some that qualify for reduced, and then there's some that don't qualify at all and have to pay," said HCISD district operator Oscar Tapia.

But come August 2014...

"We're going to offer free lunches for all students, not just some," said Tapia.

HCISD follows strict federal guidelines to provide all students with a healthy meal.

"We offer nutritious, well-balanced, fantastic meals for all our students and you can see them on our website," said Baker.

Not only are these free breakfasts and lunches helping students to thrive during the day, but they're also saving families money.

"It will benefit also the parents and the families," said Baker. "That dispensable income, they'll be able to keep it in their household and use it for other things."

Harlingen CISD will officially apply for the Community Eligibility Program on July 1.

"This is a great opportunity for this new program to have equity for all students regardless of their income status," said Tapia.

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