Qualifications & Applying for free or reduced lunch - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Qualifications & Applying for free or reduced lunch


Over 430,000 students are eligible for the free or reduced lunch program in the state of Missouri. 

As a parent, you want to make sure your child is prepared when they head back to the classroom. 

One of the most important tools for learning requires feeding your brain. 

For families that qualify, the free or reduced lunch program can help fill that need.

At Advance Public Schools, Superintendent Stan Seiler says success in the classroom starts at the breakfast table.

“Kids need body fuel,” Seiler says. “They need brain fuel in order to learn properly.” 

The qualifications for the free or reduce lunch program vary depending on the size of your household and income. 

For example, a family of four with a maximum household income of 31,525 is eligible for free meals.

For reduced meals, it is $44,863.

At Advance Public Schools, 49% of the students were eligible for free or reduce lunch in 2014.

But Seiler says some families choose not to sign up.  

“We have families who just don't want to participate in a government program.”

Seiler also says the kids may just not like the food.

For those interested in the free and reduced lunch program, the process is easy.

It only takes a few minutes to fill out the some basic paperwork.

Only one form is needed per household.

“We do send home that paperwork at the beginning of the school year,” Seiler says.

If you miss out at the beginning of the year, you can sign up at any point. 

“If they've found employment or lose employment, or if their family is situation changes, they can opt out of the program or apply for the program at any point throughout the year,” Seiler says.

Once the paperwork is in, your child can start receiving the free or reduced meals that very same day.  

“We are fortunate here that we can operate very quickly,” Seiler says.

As an educator, Seiler wants kids to have all the tools they need to succeed.

“Families sign up for the program,” Seiler says. “If you don't qualify, it's okay.  But if you do, that's assistance for you and assistance for your student.” 

If you need help with the paperwork, Seiler most school districts can help you fill it out.  

If you want to get a jump start, click here to download the form.

School districts that participate in the Community Eligibility Provision of the National School Lunch Program do not require individual paperwork from parents.  Under this provision, all of the students in the school district qualify for a free breakfast and a free lunch and individual paperwork is not required. Malden R-1 School District Superintendent Ken Cook says they are one of those districts. Contact your child's school district to find out if it is a CEP school. 

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