Thirteen Bay District schools have 100 percent of students eligible for free and reduced lunch

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - For some kids, they might worry about where their next meal is coming from, but thanks to free and reduced lunch programs, students know they can receive a meal at school.

In Bay District Schools, 13 schools have 100 percent of their students eligible for free and reduced lunch.

"When we have a population of students who, for the most part, their parents' income is below poverty or at poverty, it creates great challenges for us," Lisa Jones, Lucille Moore Elementary Principal, said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service determines eligibility by comparing and calculating the federal poverty line in comparison to a family's household income, based on how many members are in the household.

The Bay County Contractors Association presented checks for $1,100 to the elementary schools that have a 100 percent free and reduced lunch rate Wednesday.

"We want to use the funds to purchase a blanket for every student at Cherry Street [Elementary School] and so we're going to call it a 'reading blanket' in hopes that they'll take it home and be able to read over the holidays," Stacie Eckles, Administrative Assistant of Merriam Cherry Street Elementary School, said.

Lucille Moore Elementary's principal said her students don't allow financial hardships to define them.

"They understand that we are here to help them climb those mountains, or move those mountains, or push through those mountains, whatever it is, that we are here to ensure that when they are of age, that they are that productive citizen and that their dreams can be fulfilled," Jones said.

For a breakdown of how free and reduced lunch eligibility is determined by the USDA, click on the link to the right of this article.