There's a lot to worry about when you go back to school; students in these districts won't have to be concerned with their lunch money.

Back to school can be a relief for some parents and a struggle for others. Childhood poverty in Michigan is real, affecting as many as 21% of our kids. The State of Michigan has a free school lunch program for at risk kids and, if there are enough of them in a district, the entire school gets free meals.

Parents are calling it "great news," and saying "this is absolutely wonderful," "this made my heart smile," and "that’s great more schools need to do this for the students who fall in between." It can be summed up as "a blessing for families."

The plan, called Community Eligibility Provision, is "an alternative way to serve universal free breakfast and lunch to all students in high poverty Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and schools." Once you are certified by the State as a CEP school, everyone gets free meals. The Southwest Michigan Schools on the CEP List for the  2018-19 school year are as follows:

Coloma Community Schools

  • Coloma Elementary School
  • Coloma Intermediate School

Battle Creek Public School District

  • Ann J. Kellogg School
  • Battle Creek central High School
  • Dudley School
  • Lamora Park School
  • Post Franklin School
  • Northwestern Middle School
  • Springfield Middle School
  • Valley View Elementary School
  • Verona Elementary

Battle Creek Area Learning Center

Comstock Public Schools

  • Comstock Compass High School
  • Comstock High School
  • Green Meadow Elementary School
  • North Elementary School
  • Northeast Middle School
  • STEM Academy

Kalamazoo Public School District

  • Edison Environmental Science Academy
  • Lincoln International Studies School
  • Northeastern Elementary School
  • Washington Writers Academy
  • Woodward School for Technology and Research

Lakeview District (Battle Creek)

  • Prairieview Schools

Lawrence Public Schools and Dowagiac Union Schools have announced free lunches on their respective Facebook pages but are not yet listed on the Michigan Department of Education website.

Bonus Video: Drone Flyover of Abandoned Comstock School