Michigan 1 of 3 states to participate in federal free meals for students program

Students in Grand Rapids get free breakfast, lunch, snacks starting in fall under federal pilot program

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Grand Rapids Public Schools students can eat free breakfast, lunch and snacks starting this fall under a four-year federal pilot program.

Officials say eligible districts also include Wyoming, Godfrey-Lee, Muskegon ISD and Muskegon Public Schools.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say the new Community Eligibility Option offers a boost to children's nutrition in communities where need is greatest.

Michigan is one of three states selected to participate in the pilot.

Districts in Michigan can participate if at least 40 percent of their students are entitled to public assistance.

Paul Baumgartner, director of Nutrition Services Baumgartner tells MLive.com the program allows school officials to "concentrate on the delivery and consumption of healthy, nutritious food instead of being bogged down in checking economic status."

Detroit schools joined the pilot last year.

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