All 79 students at Micanopy Academy can enjoy their breakfast and lunch without worrying about their wallets.
Since the first day of school on Aug. 12, students at this grade 6-12 school, at 708 NW 5th Street, have been eligible for free meals through Your Choice Fresh, said Caron Rowe, the food and nutrition department marketing specialist for Alachua County Public Schools.
The nationwide program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, now serves 47 locations in Alachua County such as Newberry Elementary and Gainesville High School, Rowe said. No application or proof of family income is required for students to receive meals.
Cereal and chicken poppers are examples of available breakfast and lunch items, each meal includes milk as well, Rowe said. The program came to Alachua County in 2014 and started with 24 schools.
“We have seen—and there’s also been national studies done—that students who are coming to the classroom with full stomachs that they focus better, and they pay attention better to be ready to learn in the classroom,” she said.
Dakota Johnson, the school guardian for Micanopy Academy, said the program allows parents to avoid the stress of sending lunch money with their kids or receiving bills from the school.
“It allows the children who are from a lower-income household [to] not have to worry about where their food is going to come from,” he said.
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