ASHTABULA — All students in the Ashtabula Area City School District will be offered free healthy breakfasts and lunches for the upcoming school year.

The Community Eligibility Provision, a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is providing free meals to all students at schools in high-poverty areas regardless of their income. 

Students will not have to pay a fee or apply for the program, said Pamela Peck, the district’s nutrition services supervisor.

“This is great news for parents and their students,” she said. “However in order to be able to receive a meal at no cost, the minimum components must be taken, including a fruit or veggie serving.”

According to the USDA, schools that implement this program experience great success, ease the administrative burden, improve efficiency, decrease the stigma of receiving free meals and increase participation in their school meal programs.

“We know when students are hungry, they’re not learning as well as they could,” Superintendent Mark Potts said. “We want all students to make the most of their school year.”

Peck said the district’s food service employees at all seven schools “always go above and beyond.”

She also reminds parents if their child carries a negative balance after purchasing snacks, they will not be able to buy additional snacks until the negative balance is paid in full. 

For more information, call Peck at 440-993-2490.