There are options available for school children in the United States to get free and reduced lunch due to the National School Lunch Program. As part of the program, certain children may qualify for these free or reduced lunches depending on the income level of their family.
The free and reduced school lunches are based on income as compared to the federal definition of the poverty level. That level for the 2010-2011 school year is $22,050. To determine whether your kids quality for free school lunch you compare your income to this level.
Children living in homes where the income level is at or below 130 percent of the poverty level qualify for free school lunch. That would be an income of $28,665 or less.
Children living in homes where the income level is greater than 130 percent but below 185 percent of the poverty level qualify for a reduced cost on school lunch. That would be an income above $28,665 but below $40,793.
In addition to these free school lunches or reduced cost school lunches, there may be after school snacks that are free or reduced as well. These would be available based on the same income criteria.
If you qualify and want to apply for the program you can contact the agency in your state that is in charge of administration of the school lunch program or child nutrition program to begin the process. You can also contact your local school to see if they assist with the application process.
In addition to providing free and reduced lunch for school children, the program requires that schools meet certain nutritional guidelines in school lunches and that the school will allow students to have free or reduced lunches if they qualify. The federal government will them provide certain commodities to the school to offset the cost of the program as well as provide certain reimbursements to cover the cost. Additional reimbursements will be provided if snacks are also a part of a schools program.
If you are having trouble providing a basic lunch for your child and meet these qualifications, know that there may be an option out there for you to obtain free or reduced school lunches.