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How to Apply for the National Free School Lunch Program

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What is the National Free School Lunch Program?:

The National School Lunch Program provides children from low-income families access to wholesome, nutritious meals - including lunch, breakfast, and even after-school snacks (where available), at a free or reduced rate. The program currently operates in more than 100,000 schools nation-wide, and provides meals for more than 30 million children daily throughout the school year.

Do My Kids Qualify for the National Free School Lunch Program?:

Your children may be eligible for the free or reduced school lunch program if you meet the federal income eligibility guidelines.

For example, in the 2009-2010 school year:

A family of two earning less than:

  • $26,995 per year qualified for reduced lunches
  • $18,941 per year qualified for free lunches
A family of three earning less than:
  • $33,874 per year qualified for reduced lunches
  • $23,803 per year qualified for free lunches
A family of four earning less than:
  • $40,793 per year qualified for reduced lunches
  • $28,6651 per year qualified for free lunches

Additional Eligibility Information:

Families on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are automatically eligible for the national free lunch program. In addition, your children may be eligible if you are currently receiving unemployment benefits.

How Do I Apply for the National School Lunch Program?:

Your child's school district will send home an application form at the beginning of the school year. All you need to do is complete the form and return it to the school. In addition, if you need to apply for free or reduced lunches at any other time during the school year, all you need to is contact your child's school and request an application. You can not be denied simply because you didn't fill out the form in September.

References:

"Applying for Free or Reduced Price School Meals." United States of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. N.p., 21 July 2010. Web. 8 Aug. 2010. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/frp/frp.process.htm.

"National School Lunch Program." United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. N.p., Aug. 2009. Web. 8 Aug. 2010. http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/AboutLunch/NSLPFactSheet.pdf.

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