A student eats his lunch at Midvale Middle School on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. Free breakfast and lunches are no longer federally mandated. Here’s how to get them this year

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

As the 2022-23 school year begins, parents will be required to once more apply for free and reduced-price lunches. This marks the first time applications are needed since the pandemic first began and school meals became free for all students.

During the height of the pandemic, schools were able to use COVID-19 funds to feed students regardless of their family’s financial situation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that roughly 6.2% of U.S. households with children were suffering from food insecurity in 2021 and waived school lunch fees, providing 2.2 billion free or reduced-price meals to those students and their classmates that same year.

These meals that were paid for by the federal government ended in June of this year, requiring families to reapply for free or reduced-price school lunches for their students. As it was in years prior to the pandemic, household size and income will determine eligibility for the 2022-2023 school year. The calculation takes 2022’s federal poverty guideline and multiplies the dollar amount by 1.30 for free lunches, 1.85 for reduced-cost meals. But this guideline from the Department of Agriculture only accounts for household income. As CNN points out, this does not account for families in debt after losing their jobs during the pandemic.


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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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