Taconic Hills Offers Students Free Breakfast and Lunch through Federal Program. In September, Taconic Hills began its first year under its new meal program when the school debuted under the Community Eligibility Provision or Program (CEP). For a school that has seen its breakfast and lunch participation decrease in recent years, the federal and state funded program could not come at a better time. The CEP program is a non-pricing meal service option offered to both schools and school districts in qualified low income areas. For those schools that qualify, some being the highest poverty districts in the nation, CEP enables students to receive breakfast and lunch at no cost to families. “The main hurdles we have encountered in the past are cost and delivery.” says Taconic Hills’ Food Services Director Pam Strompf of the school’s previous experiences attempting to navigate around the National School Lunch Program, particularly when it came to sourcing from local farms and food producers. This coming school year, Taconic Hills has adopted CEP which reimburses the school based on calculations based on the number of students who are eligible to receive free meals based on their qualifications for other assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). As a result, Taconic Hills students will be able to access school breakfast and lunch for free, additionally, students utilizing access to the free meals through CEP will not be required to deposit additional funds into their MySchoolBucks account. The Community Eligibility Provision was approved by Congress in 2010 as part of the Hunger-Free Kids Act and was introduced in ten states not including Washington DC, the initiative became available nationwide five years ago during the 2014 school year. Thus far, the program has been nothing short of an absolute success for Mrs.Strompf and her fellow faculty members, “We have seen our lunch participation increase and our breakfast has almost doubled.” For every member of the Taconic Hills community, the hope remains to continue to provide students with access to nutritious meals on a daily basis.