Monday morning, officials with the El Paso Independent School District announced expanded distribution times for its Free & Reduced-Price Meal program, in order to better meet the needs of parents during virtual learning.
Students who qualify to receive either free or reduced-priced breakfast and lunch – or those who wish to buy meals — can have their meals picked up at their school from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“Meal distribution during the first week of learning was successful, but we heard from parents who found it challenging to comply with the strict federal guidelines for pick-up, which requires them to visit the campus in which each one of their children is enrolled,” said Laura Duran, EPISD’s Director of Food & Nutrition Services. “To help accommodate their needs, we have decided to create a
larger window of time for them to receive the meal and take it home so that our students can have access to healthy food during the pandemic.”
Parents are allowed to pick up the meals for children following a one-time verification process at the beginning of the year. The one-time verification for eligible students will happen during the first week of school at the schools.
EPISD Food Services employees will verify that eligible students are enrolled in school, and then provide parents with cards that will be used to ease the meal pick-up service through the virtual learning period.
Parents of students enrolled in magnet or specialty programs may ask for a waiver to pick-up meals to their nearest school. To obtain the waiver, email the name of student, address, telephone number and the specialty program/school to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students in 61 schools in the District automatically qualify for free meals using the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To view a list of schools included in the CEP, click here.
“Students in campuses not participating in the CEP program may still qualify for free or reduced priced meals,” EPISD officials added. “However, parents with children at these schools must fill out a Free & Reduced-Price Meal Application to determine eligibility.”