All students enrolled at TST BOCES are now eligible to receive a healthy school breakfast and lunch at no charge, thanks to a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program offered through the New York State Education Department.
Head Cook Pamela Kelly was instrumental in implementing this opportunity at TST BOCES schools, taking it upon herself to research the program and fill out the appropriate paperwork. She enlisted TST BOCES Smith School Secretary Nancy Ives to help sort through the enrollment data necessary for the application.
“It was a process, but it was worth it,” said Kelly. “A lot of students do not buy lunch because they are not able to.”
Kelly said another benefit to the program is that it applies to all of the students, they all have access to free nutritious meals, and they are all equal.
The school breakfasts and lunches include healthy, nutritious food items that offer the right proportions of grains, protein, vegetables, dairy and fruits that a child needs to be successful in school.
“Overall, I think this will make for a lot of happier classrooms,” said Kelly. “One student told me recently how happy they were to be able to eat breakfast now.”
The CEP also eliminates the burden of collecting household applications to determine eligibility for school meal programs, reducing paperwork and administrative costs. TST BOCES is guaranteed participation in the CEP program for the next four years.
TST BOCES students Mave Brown and Brandon Adams enjoy a free school breakfast at TST BOCES thanks to the NYSED Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).