Beginning in School Year (SY) 2022–23, Empire Union School District will be implementing a districtwide Universal Meals Program for all EUSD children. This Universal Meals Program (Universal Meals) is designed to build on the foundations of the federal National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). Free breakfast, lunch, and supper for all EUSD children are available daily at each school throughout the Empire Union School District.
There are three key pillars that have been established to ensure that this program is a success:
- Pillar One: California’s State Meal Mandate is expanded to include both a nutritiously adequate breakfast and lunch for, not just needy children, but all children each school day.
- Pillar Two: High poverty schools will be required to participate in a federal provision.
- Pillar Three: The California State Legislature allocates funds to provide additional state meal reimbursement to cover the cost of the Universal Meals Program.
On or before June 30, 2022, EUSD was identified as local educational agencies (LEAs) with high poverty schools and was offered an opportunity adopt a federal universal meal service provision, such as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) or Provision 2. A school is considered high poverty if their identified student percentage (ISP) is over 40 percent, meaning 40 percent of enrolled students are determined eligible for free or reduced-price school meals through direct certification, or identification as homeless, migrant, foster, or runaway.
This is a transformational moment for EUSD children and their families as we march toward providing free nutritional meals each school day and during the summer.
School meals are a healthy source of nutrition for many students within our district. According to a study from Tufts University, and a body of evidence shows students who participate in school breakfast programs have improved attendance, behavior, and academic achievement as well as decreased tardiness.
Hungry children cannot learn, and we are pleased to provide the nutrition they need to fuel their learning, grow into healthy adults, and fulfill their potential. If you have any questions, please contact your school’s cafeteria and/or the EUSD Food Services Department.