PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Good news for families in Parke County.
Students at a local elementary school are now able to receive free meals during the day.
It's all thanks to a nationally funded program from the USADA called the community eligibility provision.
The non-pricing meal service is offered to schools and school districts in low-income areas.
Abby Cleghorn's son attends Rosedale Elementary School.
She said knowing he can eat free at school if he chooses too, is a burden lifted off of her shoulders.
"Knowing that my kiddo can eat breakfast and lunch everyday, even though he's not normally a kiddo that participates in that, that's still something that if he thinks it sounds good that day he can try it it out and see. Then i'm not having to front that money, so it's kind of nice," said Cleghorn.
The program allows all students enrolled at Rosedale Elementary School to receive free breakfast and lunch.
Parents are not required to apply for the free meals.
Jonella McClintock is the food service director for the school corporation.
She said it was crucial to apply for the program in order to help families in need.
"Over the years, the need is becoming more and more. Being a small rural community, I thought that the community eligibility program would work really well in our little rural county," said McClintock.
Not only can the program ensure kids aren't going hungry, it's a way to help keep them focused in the classroom.
"A lot of our kids rely on those morning and noon meals to you know fill their bellies, and be successful during the day, so to be able to offer that free of charge is huge," said Cleghorn.
Right now, all students at Montezuma and Rosedale Elementary Schools will receive the free meals.
The next step.. Riverton Parke High School.
"We're hoping that enough people participate, so it can sustain itself in the following years. Our hopes is that next year we will be able to add the high school to the program," said McClintock.
The CEP is a four year program.
After those four years, each school is then re-assessed and must re-apply if needed.