DMPS Expands Program to Offer Free Meals at More Schools

Des Moines Public Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch at more elementary, middle and high schools this fall.

DMPS is expanding its participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), adding eight additional schools, bringing the total number of schools offering both breakfast and lunch at no-cost to fifty. The program also covers the district’s four early childhood centers, and districtwide programs.

CEP allows schools to offer free, nutritious school meals to all students through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Student participation is automatic; families are not required to fill out any forms or applications.

“This is necessary for our families living paycheck to paycheck, and appropriate for all students regardless of income,” said Amanda Miller, DMPS Director of Food and Nutrition. “We hope to eventually have the funding to expand this program into all of our schools.”

When more students eat breakfast and lunch, teachers and administrators see improvements in the classroom.

“Studies have shown that students who eat nutritionally balanced meals at school show greater improvements in academic scores, attendance, depression, anxiety and hyperactivity,” said Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ahart. “Almost every facet of a student’s day improves, along with overall health.”

The expansion of this program means almost all DMPS schools offer at least one no-cost meal option during the day. The most current enrollment numbers indicate 76.2% of DMPS students – or over 25,000 school children – qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on their family income.

Visit the district’s CEP web page for more information about the program.

Here is a list of schools participating during the 2019-2020 school year:

Elementary Schools
Brubaker, Capitol View, Carver, Cattell, Edmunds, Findley, Garton, Greenwood, Hanawalt, Hillis, Howe, Jackson, King, Lovejoy, Madison, McKinley, Monroe, Moore, Morris, Moulton, Oak Park, Park Avenue, Perkins, Phillips, Pleasant Hill, River Woods, Samuelson, Smouse, South Union, Stowe, Studebaker, Walnut Street School, Willard, Windsor, Wright.

Middle Schools
Brody, Callanan, Goodrell, Harding, Hiatt, Hoyt, McCombs, Meredith, Weeks.

High Schools
East, Hoover, Lincoln, North, Ruby Van Meter, Scavo.

Early Childhood
Jesse Franklin Taylor, McKee, Mitchell, Woodlawn.

Districtwide Programs