By Lori Lyn Lirio
ALL students of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Public School System will have free breakfast and lunch in the next school year.
This was revealed by PSS-Child Nutrition Program nutritionist Kaisa Anderson during a recent interview with reporters. She said the free breakfast and lunch means that the students and parents do not have to turn in their application for free meals.
“Our grant is directed towards PSS schools that’s why we were able to make all of them free for meal eligibility,” Anderson added.
However, parents who have children attending private schools or day care may turn in their application for possible eligibility on free meal program, she said.
Earlier, Child Nutrition Program Director Dale Roberts announced that his office was working on a free meal for all CNMI students.
The free meal was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In the previous school years, parents have to turn in their application in order for their children to have free breakfast and lunch.
Students not eligible for free school meals have to pay $0.50 for breakfast and $0.75 for lunch.
“It will be interesting to see how students affects their learning for having free breakfast and lunch. There are a lot of factors why students do not do well in school, but taking hunger out of that equation will give a step in the right direction,” Anderson said.
She added the PSS-CNP is also doing community feeding.
“Kids under 18 can or parents accompanying their children can come by at school to get free lunch for children,” she said.
Children can come between 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon at any feeding sites – Garapan Elementary School, Oleaia Elementary School, Kagman Elementary, William S. Reyes Elementary School and Koblerville Elementary School – to get their free meal.
“They don’t need ID, they don’t need proof that they go to school, and they don’t have to participate in any summer school program. All they need to do is come in and go to school cafeteria where they will be receiving the meals,” she said.