All DCPS students eligible for free lunch

Madeline Motes

This year all DC Public Schools made free lunch accessible to all students.

DCPS qualifies for free lunch under the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, which was applied for by Central Office.The provision strives to give free meals to students at schools where there is a high population of low-income students.

According to Instructional Coach David Thompson, “[in previous years, only] 30 percent of Wilson [students] qualify for free and reduced lunch.” While Wilson was not certified for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)—a non-pricing option for meals in low-income communities—all DCPS schools are eligible for the program this year. 

In previous years, the only students that could get free lunch under the Wilson food plan were those who qualified. Students automatically qualified for free and reduced meals if they met the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant status. Additionally, students could receive free lunch if they were foster children under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or if they’re household received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  

This year, at arrival time in the atrium and pool entrance, there are two employees at a table handing out items such as fruit cups, milk cartons, and hot French toast for breakfast. At lunchtime, there are multiple options to choose from: grab & go, hot lunch, and vegetarian. 

Wilson students have mostly positive things to say about the new lunch plan. Freshman Diego Sanchez said, “it’s nice having free food, but sometimes it doesn’t taste as good as I expected it to. The staff is doing a great thing for the community, though.”

Junior Meysane Sekulic echoed this sentiment, adding, “what they’re doing with the free lunch program is super understanding and helpful, especially for families whose parents don’t make a lot of money and can’t afford to buy lunch for their child.”

 While Sophomore Eddie McKenna brings his own lunch to school, he still finds the program helpful. “It makes students´ lives easier and gives them something to eat before the second half of the day,” said McKenna, adding that he doesn’t see any areas for improvement. •