Free food expansion program coming to Charlotte County schools

A program expanding in Charlotte County means more children will get free breakfast and lunch at school.

“A lot of parents in this area probably are not able at all times to provide nutritional packed food for their kids,” said parent Winsome Johnson.

Relief is on the way for Charlotte County parents with the expansion of a federal free food program.

“I think there’s a lot of families around here that need the help,” said parent Stephanie Goerl.

This upcoming school year, 18 out of 20 Charlotte County schools that qualify for the Community Eligibility program will offer free breakfast and lunch to all students whether or not they qualified for free or reduced lunch.

“There are a lot of children living in poverty in Charlotte County,” said Mike Riley, a spokesperson for Charlotte County.

Riley said nutrition plays a role in student success.

“When you’re hungry you’re thinking about getting something to eat, you’re not thinking about the test you’re going to take or the homework you had to do last night,” Riley said. “It’s so important that they get nutritional meals, and this is a blessing for these children, it truly is.”

Because it’s a school that qualifies, and not the parents, every student at a C.E.P can get a meal if he or she wants.

“A lot of times I get off work late, and I can be assured that my child can go to school and if he missed breakfast in the morning, then he can go to the cafeteria and get a nutritious meal and not worry he’s going to miss a meal,” Johnson said.

Parents tell WINK News the program gives them peace of mind know their kids won’t go hungry at school.

“We love our children and we want to see the best for them,” Goerl said.

The following schools are offering free breakfast and lunch:

  • Sallie Jones Elementary School
  • Peace River Elementary School
  • Charlotte Harbor Center
  • Baker Head Start Center
  • East Elementary School
  • Neil Armstrong Elementary School
  • Punta Gorda Middle School
  • Port Charlotte Middle School
  • Meadow Park Elementary School
  • Port Charlotte High School
  • The Academy
  • LA Ainger Middle School
  • Vineland Elementary School
  • Liberty Elementary School
  • Murdock Middle School
  • Myakka River Elementary School
  • Deep Creek Elementary School
  • Kingsway Elementary School

Visit the following websites for more information on the application process.

For information on Lee County schools, click here.

For information on Collier County schools, click here.

For information on Glades County schools, click here.