Community Eligibility (CEP) is the most popular program to be introduced to federal school meals programs in many years. To date, 18,247 high-poverty schools in nearly 3,000 districts have begun using it to slash cumbersome paperwork, eliminate stigma, and include food-insecure children whom the previous certification system had left behind. Under CEP, every child eats for free, regardless of pay status. This might seem wasteful of taxpayer dollars, but that’s only until you take close look at how the policy is designed. Do that, and you’ll discover how CEP wipes out costly inefficiencies, leaving more funds available to feed students who need nutrition assistance the most.

photo courtesy USDA

photo courtesy USDA