Students at one New Bedford school were in for a special lunch Wednesday afternoon.

As a part of National School Lunch Week, regional and state officials visited Gomes School to congratulate the district on improved breakfast and lunch participation through the Community Eligibility Provision.

In the past, students were required to pass in paperwork proving their eligibility for free meals. The Provision takes out the paperwork part, and gives free meals based on regional income.

That gives all New Bedford students access to free meals regardless of family income.

Since joining the Community Eligibility Provision last year, New Bedford Schools have seen 6% more students eating breakfast at schools and 11% more eating school lunches.

Robert Leshin, Director for the Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety, says the program plays a major role in keeping kids ready to learn.

"Eating the right foods will prepare them for the school day, [and] give them the energy to learn," Leshin says.