Free Meal Program Expands to 8 Additional Big Island Schools

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This upcoming school year, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) will expand a U.S. Department of Agriculture free meal program, called the “Community Eligibility Provision,” from 30 public schools to 52 across the state.

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

“We are very pleased to be able to expand this program to 22 additional schools statewide to provide free meals for over 8,500 more students,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “The program helped over 18,000 students to receive free meals over the past two years and provided significant relief for many families.”

The 22 additional schools being added to the program in school year 2017-18 are:


Hawai‘i Island Schools
Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary
Hilo Union Elementary
Honaunau Elementary
Ho‘okena Elementary
Keaukaha Elementary
Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino
Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Elementary & Intermediate
Waimea Elementary

O‘ahu Schools
Aiea Elementary
Central Middle
Governor Sanford B. Dole Middle
Ka‘ala Elementary
Kaewai Elementary
Kahalu‘u El.
Kaiulan Elementary
Kalihi Elementary
Kauluwela Elementary
Mayor Joseph J. Fern Elementary
Palolo Elementary
Puuhale Elementary
Waipahu Elementary
William P. Jarrett Middle

The 30 schools already participating in the program in school year 2016-17 are:

Hawai‘i Island
Kau High & Pahala Elementary
Kea‘au Elementary
Kea‘au High
Kea‘au Middle
Keonepoko Elementary
Mountain View Elementary
Na‘alehu Elementary
Pāhoa Elementary
Pāhoa High


O‘ahu Schools
Blanche PopeElementary
Leihoku Elementary
Linapuni Elementary
Maili Elementary
Makaha Elementary
Nanaikapono Elementary
Nanakuli Elementary
Nanakuli High & Intermediate
Olomana School
Waianae Elementary
Waianae High
Waianae Middle
Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate

Maui Schools
Hāna High & Elementary

Moloka‘i Schools
Kaunakakai Elementary
Kilohana Elementary
Maunaloa Elementary
Moloka‘i Middle
Moloka‘i High

Lāna‘i Schools
Lāna‘i High & Elementary


Kaua‘i Schools
Kekaha Elementary

To qualify for the CEP program, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40% or more of its students eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently, HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.89 for students who qualify for a free meal and $.44 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.94 in recouped cost for the state.

Under the program all students in the CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.89 reimbursement. While participating schools may no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.

For more information about the USDA CEP program go online. For details on HIDOE’s CEP pilot program, go online.

HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch has a website that will provide families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information, go online.

To learn more, visit

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