The National School Lunch Program guarantees that low-income children in the District of Columbia, and across the country, receive a healthy lunch during their school day.

School lunch is critical to student health and well-being, especially for low-income students—and ensures that students have the nutrition they need throughout the day to learn. Research shows that receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduces food insecurity, obesity rates, and poor health.

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.

Want to know how the District ranks in school lunch participation? Check the new D.C. School Meals Report to find out how many low-income students in the nation’s capital participated in school lunch in the 2018-2019 school year, and how many Local Education Agencies (LEAs, or school districts), met our goal of reaching 60 percent of low-income children with school lunch.

Did You Know?
Meals served through the National School Lunch Program meet federal nutrition standards, which require schools to serve more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

About National School Lunch Week
National School Lunch Week, founded in 1962 by President Kennedy, is an official celebration of the National School Lunch Program. The week offers school staff, faculty, students, and families the opportunity to acknowledge the importance of healthy school lunch, the D.C. Healthy Schools Act, and the benefits that they offer to students in D.C.’s traditional and charter public schools.