The Baltimore County Public Schools system announced to parents on Thursday that it intends to give free breakfast and lunch to all students next school year.

This year, 87 schools are serving free meals to their students through the federal Community Eligibility Program. The program allows local school systems to give free breakfast and lunch to all students and “eliminates the burden of collecting household applications to determine eligibility for school meal programs,” according to the school system.

In an email to parents, the system said schools qualify for the program if 40% or more of the students are in needs-based programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are homeless or in other special circumstances.

This year, 66% of students in the entire system are eligible for free and reduced meals.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“Due to increased eligibility across the county, it is anticipated that BCPS will be able to adopt a systemwide CEP model next school year,” the email stated.

More From The Banner