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New rules this year mean parents must fill out new paperwork for students to receive free or reduced lunch

school lunch file
Posted at 5:14 AM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 08:32:49-04

The Keep Kids Fed Act, which was signed into law this year, helps communities provide food for children in school.

The federal program is designed to help schools streamline their meal operations and increase the reimbursement rate for school lunch and breakfast. Schools will receive an additional $.40 for each lunch served.

Parents whose students do not attend a CEP (Community Eligibility Provision) school will need to fill out forms to see if they qualify for free or reduced lunch. In Hillsborough County, the link for the form is here.

All children in homes receiving SNAP benefits are eligible, regardless of income.

"There are a lot of kids out there who are eligible for free or reduced lunch who just never turn in the paperwork," Matt Spence, Chief Programs Officer at Feeding Tampa Bay, said. "The thing is, it's not just for your child. But if enough kids at a particular school fill that paperwork out, we get what's called Community Eligibility, so the entire school becomes eligible for free lunch. And that is a game changer. And that makes a huge difference."

More information by county:

In Polk, Citrus and Highlands counties, all school lunches are free.