Understanding the National School Lunch Program
Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2014 at 7:00 am
Every family goes through some financially difficult times. The start of a new school year brings a lot of new expenses. Are you unsure if you can afford to buy enough groceries to supply your child with a lunch every school day? There is a chance that your family might qualify for some assistance. The National School Lunch Program was designed for families who are having financial difficulties.
Who Can Qualify?
Families that are earning at or below the current income eligibility requirements can have their children qualify for the National School Lunch Program. The current guidelines are effective from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. Contact your child’s school and ask to fill out a school meal application. The school (or a local agency) should process that application and determine if your family is eligible.
Families that are currently receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may or may not have to fill out an application. Parents who are on SNAP will automatically have their child qualify for free school meals. People who are on unemployment compensation might also be eligible to have their child receive free or reduced price school meals.
School Breakfast Program
The School Breakfast Program was made permanent in 1975. The program operates in more than 89,000 schools and institutions.
Public or nonprofit schools (of high school grade or under) can participate in the School Breakfast Program. The school district (or independent school) receives cash subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for each meal they serve.
Any child that attends a school that is participating in the School Breakfast Program can purchase a breakfast meal through that program. Kids who are from families with income at or below 130% of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Kids from families with slightly higher income, 130% to 185% of the Federal poverty level can be eligible for reduced price breakfasts.
Special Milk Program
The Special Milk Program provides milk to children who are eligible. The child’s school is reimbursed for the milk that they serve through the program
Kids who are in a school that participates in the Special Milk Program, or who are in a half-day pre-kindergarten program, or kindergarten program can buy milk or receive it for free. It depends on the school’s choice of program options.
Schools that participate in this program must offer only pasteurized fluid types of fat free or low-fat (1%) milk. The milk must contain vitamins A and D at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration.