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Updated: Jan 31, 2020

Public schools across Louisiana are now able to provide free meals to all students under the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs through Provision 2 and the Community Eligibility Option.

Legal Partners:

Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz

Community Partners:

Food Research Action Center

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation

Pennington Family Foundation

Louisiana Food Bank Association

Allison Tiller

Louisiana Budget Project

The Greater New Orleans Foundation


Until about 2012, Louisiana schools were unable to take advantage of Universal Meal Programs without losing their ability to count students eligible for at-risk funding. Louisiana Appleseed and its community partners worked with the Louisiana Department of Education to amend the policy by which it determines the at-risk count for schools wishing to participate in Universal Meal Programs. The updated policy ensures that schools opting for programs such as Provision 2 and the Community Eligibility Option will be able to provide free meals to all their students while simplifying their paperwork, streamlining meal service, decreasing school food service costs and, most importantly, promoting good nutrition and helping improve student performance.

Louisiana Appleseed volunteer, Allison Berger Tiller, wrote a handbook to inform schools about these programs and to help them determine if taking advantage of Provision 2 and the Community Eligibility Option is the right choice for their students. It is intended to provide schools with the pertinent policy information they need to assist them in making an informed decision.

The easy guide has been printed and a helpful website developed through the generosity of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. Special thanks to the Pennington family foundation for additional funding. To learn more about this initiative, please visit

To date, 380,000 Louisiana students in 832 schools have received lunch under the Community Eligibility Program, for which Louisiana Appleseed volunteers successfully advocated. Louisiana has 72.6% adoption by eligible schools (15th in the nation) and 78% by eligible school districts (7th in the nation). Louisiana had the second largest increase in CEP adoption in 2016-17.

Now, in 2020, Louisiana Appleseed is continuing this work by conducting targeted and substantive outreach and education efforts to a specific list of Louisiana schools that may be eligible for Universal Meal Programs. Volunteers are working directly with schools across the state that have not opted into the CEP program. Volunteers will also work directly with schools to address concerns with the CEP and determine individualized next steps to ensure children do not go hungry based on the ability to pay.

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