The National School Lunch Program
Lunch Program infographic (pdf)
Learn about D.C. Public Schools' Wellness Policy.
...guarantees that millions of low-income children receive a healthy lunch during their school day. All children can participate in the program, but low-income children qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Any public school, charter or nonprofit private school can participate in the National School Lunch Program, and public or nonprofit private residential child care institutions can also participate. In the District, 50,277 low-income children benefited each day in school year 2013-2014.
What’s happening with school lunch in D.C.?
D.C. Healthy Schools Act eliminates co-payment that families used to pay for reduced-price lunch
Thanks to the Healthy Schools Act, children living in households with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty level will no longer have to pay a co-payment for reduced-price lunch at all D.C. public and public charter schools.
Before the Healthy Schools Act, D.C. Public Schools charged 20 cents and charter schools charged up to 40 cents for reduced-price lunch. Low-income families struggling with fixed costs for food, rent, utilities, transportation, and child care often do not have spare money for co-payments. And when schools charge interests on student accounts or deny children a meal when their accounts maintain a balance, this co-payment can constitute a serious hardship.
To support implementation (pdf) of this requirement, DCPS and public charter schools that comply with all of Sections 202 and 203 in Title II of the Act will receive 40 cents extra for each lunch served to students who qualify for reduced-price meals.
D.C. Hunger Solutions can help by:
- advocating for policy improvements to make school meals work for low-income families and improve meal quality;
- conducting outreach to increase participation in school meals;
- implementing a plan to collect meal applications to enable D.C. schools to access full federal funding;
- helping your school enroll in the National School Lunch Program or develop strategies to improve school meal quality;
- promoting the Healthy Schools Act in D.C. schools.
Help Us Spread the Word:
- Promote the importance of school meals.
- Collect D.C. Public School meal applications from all households so that schools can get maximum federal reimbursements for school meals and Title I funding. The DCPS application is available in multiple languages.
- Download our Guide to Collecting School Meal Applications (pdf).
- Contact us with your questions or concerns about school meal quality.