Free Breakfast and Lunch Announced for District

Free Breakfast and Lunch in Weakley County Schools’ A+ Cafeterias This Semester
Posted on 01/03/2024
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As the first week of the second semester begins, Weakley County Schools is reminding parents about the extraordinary opportunity for families across the district. Starting January 3, all ten schools within the district will provide breakfast and lunch to students at no cost for the entirety of the semester. Additionally, each cafeteria has earned an A+ inspection from the Tennessee Department of Health

The free meals announcement comes after the district qualified for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a universal meal plan under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). This provision allows eligible districts and schools to offer meal services to all students without charge, regardless of economic status, in accordance with Section 104a of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

All smiles at Westview High School as 7 students eat at a round blue lunch table


Trista Snider, Director of Nutrition for Weakley County Schools, emphasized, "We're excited to offer this remarkable option to our students. It's a great opportunity for all children to have access to nutritious meals without any financial burden to families this semester."

The update to the school nutrition program was made possible by a recent adjustment in criteria by the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE). Previously, only Sharon School qualified for CEP within the county. However, Medicaid students in the directly certified numbers are now included, broadening the scope of eligibility criteria beyond SNAP, TANF, and Foster Care metrics.

School Nutrition Staff Member Jamie Breuer showcases Martin Middle's Perfect Score

"Prior to this year, SNAP, TANF, and Foster Care were the primary metrics for identifying directly certified students. Including Medicaid students has significantly increased our eligibility," noted Snider.

This invaluable benefit is available to students in grades Pre-K through 12. "We encourage parents to take advantage of this program," urged Snider. “By participating in this program, students can contribute to the sustainability of the initiative with hopes that we continue the program benefit of the students after this semester ends. We hope the cost savings will prompt parents to encourage students to eat breakfast and lunch in our cafeterias daily."

Six students and a teacher at Martin Elementary Cafeteria smiling with their lunch trays and happy to be ready to eat

Snider clarified the items that make up a reimbursable lunch, stating, "A reimbursable lunch comprises three components. Even if a student brings their preferred items from home, we encourage them to join the cafeteria line and supplement their lunchbox choices. Simply adding a fresh fruit, a milk, and a roll would qualify as a no-cost meal under this program. However, if a student were to only take a milk, the cafeteria would be required to charge the a la carte price of $0.50 cents."

She further outlined the breakfast offerings, stating, "Our breakfast menu includes three entree choices daily, ranging from hot protein-based items like sausage and biscuits to warm grain-based options such as waffles, and either Pop Tarts or cereal. Additionally, students can choose from a variety of milk, juice, and fruit."

Dresden High School blue lunch tray has chicken tenders, salad, and mashed potatoes, green beans and milk

The district's ten school cafeterias have also received exceptional ratings from the Tennessee Health Department, each earning an A+ with scores ranging from 99 to 100, ensuring that students receive meals in an environment that meets the highest health and safety standards.

Martin Elementary blue lunch tray looks tasty with a cowboy burger, corn, salad, broccoli, and apple sauce and milk

Director of Schools Jeff Cupples celebrates the great news from School Nutrition.

“It’s an outstanding achievement that all of our school cafeterias have attained an A+ rating with nearly all of them earning a perfect 100 score. With the no cost breakfast and lunch initiative in place this semester, it’s clear that Director Trista Snider and our School Nutrition team is absolutely hitting it out of the park. Our team never stops conceptualizing new ways to help students and families. Wholesome, nutritious breakfast and lunch for students every day at no cost to families in our A+ cafeterias is a win-win-win,” Director Cupples declared.

Westview High School cafeteria salad bar shows fresh cherry tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, pickled jalapenos, and croutons

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