HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County School Board will vote at an upcoming meeting whether to approve the Community Eligibility Provision program, which would use federal grant money to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students at qualifying schools.
The program is an effort to eliminate student insecurities in the cafeteria.
In order for a school to qualify, at least 40 percent of the student body must already receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
In Horry County, one of the qualifying schools is the Myrtle Beach Intermediate School, where 76 percent of the student body is already eligible for a free and reduced lunch.
Principal Deb Colliver said that there are some students who do feel self-conscious about getting free meals while some of their peers pay for food.
Parents are also required to fill out an application form at the start of every school year so that the school can determine whether their child qualifies for free meals.
The application form asks personal questions such as the ethnicity of the family as well as the household income.
If the Myrtle Beach Intermediate School were to become part of the Community Eligibility Provision program, all enrolled students would receive a free breakfast and lunch without the burden of filling out the household application.
"I think it would be a great opportunity for all students to be on a level playing field, and to not feel inhibited at any time in the cafeteria if they needed to have a conversation about a bill or anything like that," Colliver said. “There are all children of poverty at all schools, even if they may not qualify for Title I, so I think it would be something that would be expanded upon."
Regardless, Colliver believes this is a great step forward for equal education.
“I love how they’re putting children first and making sure that their needs are taken care of, because that helps us when they go into a classroom and they have a full stomach," she said.
The Horry County School Board could vote as early as Monday, March, 20, whether to approve the schools for Community Eligibility Provision.