PROVIDENCE, R.I. — All elementary school children attending public school in Providence can now eat breakfast and lunch for free.

Providence Public Schools says it expanded a pilot program that offered free meals at 13 elementary schools last year. All 22 elementary schools will offer free meals for the school year beginning Tuesday.

The federal government reimburses low-income school districts for student meal costs.

The district says elementary school students in Providence no longer have to qualify on an individual basis because the entire district is now qualified, so they can all eat free meals.

The Providence School Board says this removes the financial stress some families may feel and ensures students have breakfast and lunch readily available.

Last year, 85 percent of the district’s students qualified for free or reduced lunch.

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