Oakdale, Oberlin and Reeves students will get free meals

Published 10:48 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Students enrolled in schools in Oakdale, Oberlin and Reeves will be served breakfast and lunch at no charge during the upcoming school year.

Allen Parish School Child Nutrition Programs Supervisor April Fruge said nearly 1,800 students in the three communities will have the opportunity to eat free, healthy meals regardless of household income as part of the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) program.

“The Community Eligibility Program, or CEP, is a federal program that allows for free meals based upon the percentage of the households in a community who get SNAP benefits,” Fruge said.

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Parents of students enrolled at schools in the three communities will not have to submit an application for the free meal program.

“This is definitely an added benefit for these schools because students can eat a healthy meal — breakfast and lunch,” she said, adding that students who eat healthy meals tend to do better in school both academically and athletically.

The School Board will receive federal reimbursement to cover the cost of the meals at participating schools.

About 2,000 students at all other Allen Parish schools in Elizabeth, Fairview and Kinder will be eligible for free, reduced and full price meals based on income level.

Parents of students at Elizabeth High, Fairview High, Kinder Elementary, Kinder Middle and Kinder High schools must submit a free and reduced meal application by Sept. 23. Applications are available at the schools and online at the Allen Parish School Board website at www.allen.k12.la.us under the cafeteria tab at the top of the page.

Applications are accepted throughout the school year if household incomes change.

Fruge said food service employees are gearing up for the new school year which begins on Aug. 12.

“We have some new equipment and appliances and every cafeteria has had some sort of upgrade in the past few years,” she said.

For the first time in four years, school cafeterias will be operating at 100 percent capacity with no COVID-19 restrictions in place and all storm damage repairs and construction completed.

“All of our students will return to the cafeteria with no restrictions,” Fruge said.

Menus will also return to “made-from-scratch” items, which are better for the students and more cost-efficient, she said. New items have also been added to the menus.

Menu items had changed during the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate students who had to eat outside of the cafeteria.

Menus along with product information and cafeteria spotlights can be found on the new Allen Parish School Nutrition Facebook page. Menus are also available on the School Board’s website.