As of Thursday, July 27th, the Lafayette Parish School System will be participating in the USDA's Community Eligibility Program for this upcoming school year, 2023-2024.

CEP is different than the traditional Meal Benefit Application Program. Previously students would be required to apply and meet the necessary requirements in order to receive free or reduced-price meals.

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Free Meals For All Lafayette Parish Students

According to the LPSS, now all students will receive free breakfast and lunch meals without the hassle of dealing with the application process. Based on the increased number of students currently enrolled in other federal programs to receive free meal benefits all Lafayette Parish students will benefit from this decision to participate in CEP.

What Does This Mean LPSS Students?

•    All students are now eligible to receive breakfast and lunch meals at school for the entire school year at no charge
•    The traditional Meal Benefit application will be replaced with an Economic Data Survey. This survey will be requested from the household of a student that does not receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid benefits; only one survey per household is needed.
•    Student household data reported in the Economic Data Survey will be used only for the purpose of obtaining state and federal funding for LPSS
•    Households will be notified when the Economic Data Survey is available, in both the paper and electronic format.

Via Unsplash
Via Unsplash

Community Eligibility Provision

The USDA introduced this program in 2014 as a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 as an alternative to the meal benefit application process. The goal of CEP is to increase meal participation and classroom readiness while decreasing the financial burden on parents and Meal Benefit Documentation.

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Commonly Questions About Meal Account Balances

❖    A student account that has a positive balance (money available) remaining from prior school year can:
A.    Use for the purchase of extra sale items such as milk, juice, and water
B.    Transfer to the meal account of a sibling with a prior year balance
C.    Request a refund using the Student Meal Account Refund/Transfer Form found on LPSS website
D.    Donate remaining student meal account funds to apply to other student accounts that do not have meal benefits
❖    A student account with a negative balance that accumulated in prior school years when meals were served and there was no money in the student account (Meal of the Day, double card usage) is the responsibility of the parent or guardian for payment.
A.    Students with a negative account balance carried over to the 2023-2024 school year will continue to receive a notification letter periodically sent to student household in order to collect balances on unpaid meal accounts.
B.    Meal Payments continue to be accepted on student meal accounts either by check made payable to the student's school cafeteria or by using MySchoolBucks payment system.

Questions Or Concerns?

Contact the Meal Benefits Coordinator at 337-521-7375 or email if you have any questions regarding the USDA Community Eligibility Provision Program.

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