TORII STATION, OKINAWA , JAPAN — November 22, 2004 — For the first time in nearly 25 years, the eligibility for free or reduced-price lunches in Department of Defense (DoD) schools will be calculated for families living on the economy without including their housing allowance as income.
This should greatly increase the number of children eligible to receive reduced-price or free lunches at school. The new policy went into effect immediately upon the signing of an agreement between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in late October. "In order for children to learn they must have their basic needs met. This change will help families ensure their children will be provided a nutritious lunch during the school day," said Dr. Nancy Bresell, Director, DoDDS-Pacific/DDESS-Guam.
This policy applies only to those DoD civilian and military dependent children living in civilian housing overseas. There is no change in the policy for the children of families living in military housing, and no change for students at DoD schools in the United States. Families interested in seeing if their eligibility has changed with the new policy should contact the installation representative who normally collects information on school lunches.
In 1980, the DoD signed the first agreement with the USDA allowing its schools to participate in the National School Lunch Program. This change in eligibility criteria marks the first major revision in that agreement.