Prior to the beginning of the pandemic, approximately 30 million children attending almost 100,000 public and non-profit private schools and residential childcare institutions participated in the National School Lunch Program. This program provides balanced meals to children during the school day. With the shift to remote learning in March 2020, many schools set up sites where families could pick up meals. States also provided electronic cards to children who normally received free and reduced-price meals at school so they could buy food at local stores.
School children in households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits automatically qualify for free school meals. Participation in other federal assistance programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), also provides automatic eligibility.
For more information about the School Lunch Program, visit our All Pandemic Awards dashboard and enter 10.555 into the Assistance Listing search filter.