Community Eligibility Provision

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Instead, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

CEP in Alabama

Established in 2010 as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and became available nationwide SY2015. 

CEP allows high-poverty schools to offer meals to all students at no cost, without the need to collect applications. 

CEP has grown each year. In SY2020 an additional 1,910 schools participated in CEP.

Community eligibility helps keep children fed in Alabama

Arise’s Celida Soto Garcia explains how the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) helps more than 450 high-poverty schools across Alabama offer breakfast and lunch to students at no charge. Now is the time to contact school superintendents and urge them to opt into CEP if their districts are eligible to participate.

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