Where to turn after expiration of free pandemic-era school lunch program
Students return to school without universal access to free lunch, which has been present in the last two school years.
FARGO — Many kids are headed back to school Thursday, Aug. 25, but not all students will have access to free meals, after pandemic-era programs which provided them, expired.
Families might now be wondering what resources are left?
What still remains is the USDA's National School Lunch Program, which provides reduced-cost or free meals to children of eligible families.
Those eligible must fall below a certain income level. For instance a family of three cannot make more than $42,606 annually for students to qualify for reduced meals, and that same family of three cannot make more than $29,939 to qualify for free meals.
The federal program only requires one application per family.
An additional way to qualify, is if your child receives benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( SNAP ), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations ( DFPIR ), or the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families ( TANF ).
Those children can get free meals regardless of family income.
The link to the application, which is universal for schools around the country, as well as more information, can be found here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/cn/applying-free-and-reduced-price-school-meals