Department of Defense Education Activity

Free Meals For Students Though June 2022 - DoDEA Americas Served 4 Million Meals During Pandemic

PEACHTREE CITY, GEORGIA — August 11, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says student meals are free through June 2022.

“This extension provides children with healthy, nutritious meals for next school year, regardless of the instructional setting (in-person, remote, or virtual),” said Dr. Judith A. Minor, Americas Director for Student Excellence.

Four million meals: That’s the number of healthy meals that the Americas provided to its students last school year. Healthy meals mean students get the nutrients they need to focus on school.

“During the pandemic, we delivered grab-and-go meals through in-person pickups, then eventually in our cafeterias,” said Michael Ryan, who is the region’s chief of logistics.

“Our local school cafeteria teams were the heroes. Thanks to their hard work, our students didn’t miss a meal,” said Dr. Minor. Students received free meals from mid-September onwards, thanks to USDA.

Additional Opportunities

While free meals will continue to be provided for the upcoming year for all students, some families may qualify for additional resources from local, state, and federal agencies. In order to receive additional benefits, families who qualify must apply. If you believe that you qualify for these additional benefits, or have qualified in the past, you must complete an application packet. Learn more about who may qualify by visiting your school’s website at https://www.dodea.edu/.

How to Apply

Complete a free or reduced-price meal application packet to determine if you might qualify for additional benefits. The application and additional information are available on your school’s website.

USDA Child Nutrition Programs

Millions of children across the nation participate in Child Nutrition Programs each day, receiving benefits that make an important contribution to their overall nutrition and academic success.

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946. About 30.4 million children participated in program in 2016.

The School Breakfast Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions. It started in 1966 as a pilot project, and it was made a permanent entitlement program by Congress in 1975. About 14.5 million children participated in program in 2016.

The Summer Food Service Program is a federally-funded, state-administered program. It reimburses providers who serve free healthy meals to children and teens in low-income areas during the summer months when school is not in session.