By Bill Spinks

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch — or a free breakfast, for that matter. But for all Milford Independent School District students in the 2020-21 school year, there will actually be both.

The South Ellis County district has announced that it has implemented a new option that is available to schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs. The option, called the Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, will allow Milford ISD to provide free breakfast and free lunches for all enrolled students in the district.

Schools qualifying to operate the CEP provide breakfast and lunch to all children at no charge and eliminate the collection of meal applications for free, reduced-price, and paid student meals. This new approach reduces burdens for both families and school administrators and helps ensure that students receive nutritious meals.

Brandi Galindo, Milford ISD Child Nutrition Program director, announced this week in a letter to parents that all enrolled students of the district are eligible to receive a healthy breakfast and lunch at school at no charge each day of the 2020-21 school year.

"No further action is required of you," Galindo states in the letter. "Your child(ren) will be able to participate in these meal programs without having to pay a fee or submit a meal application."

For snacks and other extras, all students must have money on their accounts, and students will not be allowed to obtain a negative balance for these items. Milford uses MySchoolBucks to manage balances, and a direct link to this site is located on the Milford ISD website.

"We have been working hard in getting ready for your student to come back to school and have GREAT meals in a safe environment," Galindo said. "We are excited for the new items we will be introducing to the students this year."