Knox County schools starts free meals program

Under the Community Eligibility Provision, 35,000 students will receive free breakfasts and lunches next school year.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Bare kitchen shelves and empty seats filled the cafeteria at Central High School on Wednesday, but starting Monday, hundreds of hungry students will fill the dining hall.

Thanks to a new federally funded program, called the Community Eligibility Provision, more than 35,000 Knox County students will get their breakfasts and lunches for free, no matter their family's income.

Fifty-two schools in Knox County have qualified for the federal grant. Those schools already have a majority of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. Now, all students can participate.
"I'll have a good feeling knowing [my grandson] can get a good meal to start him off for the day, so I'm very happy about it," said Shelia Sharp.

Sharp's grandson is going into his sophomore year at Central High School. He didn't qualify for the district's old free and reduced lunch program, but may take advantage of the new options. 

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