New York parents and guardians will be required to submit applications in order for their children to receive either free or reduced-price school meals this upcoming school year, reverting back to pre-pandemic procedures.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal child nutrition waivers allowed New York State to provide free or reduced-price meals to all children, but this federal provision expired last year which requires schools to return to pre-pandemic meal procedures which require families to apply for these benefits.
“Hundreds of thousands of kids who depend on school meals will re-enter New York classrooms in a few short weeks, and we are deeply worried that families won’t learn about this new requirement until after school resumes,” said Rachel Sabella, Director of No Kid Hungry New York in a statement Aug 25. “We must make sure families fill out these applications for free or reduced-price meals ASAP so their children will not go hungry this September.”
Approximately 1 in 5 children face hunger in New York State, and access to free and reduced school meals is a crucial step to ensuring children get the resources they need.
School meal program applications are also ways for schools to qualify for additional funding for services and benefits including discounted exam and college application fees, scholarships, home wi-fi discounts and additional school supplies for students.