All 15 schools districts in Broome, Tioga counties to offer free meals for students

Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 4:27 PM EDT
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OWEGO (WBNG) -- Because of a program that started on Nov. 1, you’ll no longer have to worry about sending your child to school with lunch money.

Providing free breakfast and lunch for every district in Broome and Tioga counties is something Registered Dietician for Broome-Tioga BOCES Julie Raway said has been a long time coming.

“We’ve been working on this for many years and at the start of the school year we had this at 11 of our 15 districts,” said Raway. “Now, we’re able to offer this to all 15. This was a result of the federal change in the CEP, which is the Community Eligibility Provision, from 45% to 25%.”

Throughout all 15 districts, Broome-Tioga BOCES Food Services expects more students to take advantage of meals at school.

“We expect to see an increase in meal participation at breakfast and lunch,” said Raway. “I have two kids and it’s nice to send them right to school and they get two meals and not have to worry about it as a parent.”

For students in these counties, providing them with affordable meals is not the only priority. Other initiatives look to make sure these free meals are healthy and well-balanced.

“Today, we have our New York Thursday, which promotes well-balanced local products on the menu,” said Raway. “All students get to enjoy that they don’t have to worry about paying for their meal.”

Districts throughout both counties join several other schools throughout the state in offering free meals but Raway hopes this one day will be statewide.