Oklahoma schools receive free breakfast and lunch (KTEN)

by Brenna Arthur

“If I don’t eat breakfast in the morning, I’m not ready to learn,” Ardmore 8thgrader, Nikayla Coleman says.

Nikayla Coleman is one of many students who feel that way about the most important meal of the day. But according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, just in the last year…more than one quarter of Oklahoma children did not know where their next healthy meal was going to come from.

The institute is now leading a program to get high-poverty communities the opportunity to serve free breakfast and lunch to all students in eligible cities.

“They have a certain percentage of students who automatically qualify for free and reduced meals which is to say if their families are on SNAP, or if they receive TANIF benefits, and a whole range of other programs,” Oklahoma Policy Institute analyst, Carly Putnam says.

Ardmore Middle School principal, Cindy Huddleston has noticed her students are definitely taking advantage of the new program.

“Our kids enjoy it, i have some, especially boys, who eat two breakfasts, they’ll eat breakfast at home, and then they’ll come to school and eat another breakfast, so we’re fine with that,” Huddleston says.

Parents seem to be just as excited as their kids due to the economic relief.

“Normally we would be paying $300 or more a month just for the three kids we have in our house hold, without having to pay that, it helps us economically,” Ardmore parent, John Black says.

The community eligibility provision program already operates in dozens of states but Oklahoma has only recently started to participate.

“There can be a stigma around students eating a free or reduced lunch, in a lot of schools, students can’t eat breakfast because it’s served when buses are still coming in and there’s just no time,” Putnam says.



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