Getting ready to return to school in a few short days brings with it a flurry of preparation and paperwork. One of the items in the stack of forms is an application for free or reduced lunch at the school, which many parents just set aside assuming it doesn’t pertain to them. Your students will tell you, Moretti from RiseVT always says: “you know what happens when you assume… sometimes you’re wrong!” Every family is encouraged to submit a completed application.

Faye Conte from Hunger Free Vermont tells us that “many families qualify for free school meals but don’t realize it. The government looks at the percentage of students who qualify for school meals, rather than those who actually eat school meals when determining school eligibility for a host of important programs. Filling out the application can help the school and other students, whether or not a family actually wants their children to eat meals provided by the school.”

Ginger Farineau from Hunger Free Vermont explains:

“If 50% or more of the students at your school are enrolled in your free/reduced price school meal program, all children in your community become eligible for two free meals a day all summer long-anywhere meals are provided and all students become eligible for free daily afterschool meals and snacks.  The Title 1 funding your school receives is based on the number of students who are enrolled in your free/reduced price school meal program.  Title 1 funding pays for many of the academic programs all students use.  If every family isn’t applying, you are leaving education dollars in D.C. that belong to your school and your community.”

If your family is already receiving support from 3Squares, completing and submitting the application is less urgent, as the state sends that information to the school. Submitting the application is just a good practice to ensure the school has your students in the count.

The application for free or reduced lunch at the school helps the entire community by opening up opportunities for free nutrition and nutrition education, as well as additional funding for necessary school programming. If you don’t receive an application from your school, or need help in completing the form, please reach out to your school.