Back to School: School lunch programs and qualifying for free and reduced lunch

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 3:14 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — An integral part of any school day is the meals.

“How do you do homework or do your classwork when they are hungry, so if they are hungry, we want to feed them,” said Vanessa Fitzsimons, the food service director at the Jerome School District.

With school starting again, that means the return of school lunch.

In the Jerome School District, there are a few changes this year.

“The big thing to know this year is we have what is called provision 2 for breakfast, so that means that our breakfast at every school is free for everybody, without any qualifications whatsoever, it’s free for everybody, all of our students,” said Fitzsimons.

But, if your child is interested in school lunch, you will have to apply for free and reduced lunch to see if they qualify.

“We would encourage everyone to apply, because not only is it great to receive a free or reduced lunch, but it also helps our other programs, there are a lot of grants and other programs that we might qualify for if we have a certain statistic of free and reduced lunch population, so even if you are not going to eat cafeteria food, if you would still apply we would really appreciate it,” said Fitzsimons.

To apply, there is a short application online or in person at any of the schools.

“It’s very simple and you only need one application for your whole household, so no matter how many children you have, it all goes onto one short application,” said Fitzsimons.

Elementary lunch is $2.75 and secondary schools is $3.00. Reduced lunch is 40 cents. You can apply for free and reduced lunch anytime, but the sooner the better.

“Even if you qualify for a free meal, it’s only from the date that actually apply that we can count it, so if you’ve charged before that we still have to hold you responsible for that charge,” said Fitzsimons.

The Jerome School District serves about 3,500 lunches each day.

“I think that you don’t do this job if you’re not passionate about feeding kids, they are all in this job, every person who works in food service, loves it, as do I, we are passionate about nutrition, we are passionate about feeding kids, being that smiling face for them in the morning and at lunch time,” said Fitzsimons.

Each school district is different, so you may want to check your school district website for information.