Students will receive free meals this year at school through the Colorado Department of Education’s Healthy School Meals for All program. However, schools still depend on parents filling out free or reduced-price meal applications.
In the 2022-23 school year, 34% of the St. Vrain Valley School District qualified for free or reduced-priced meals. The program is supported by the National School Lunch Program which uses federal funds to pay for student meals.
Families can qualify for the program based if their income falls below 130-185% of the poverty level. For a family of three, this means the family’s annual income would fall below $40,625 a year or $3,385 per month.
The Colorado Healthy School Meals for All Program will subsidize school meals for all students in Colorado, however, the federal government helps through the free or reduced lunch program. Because of this, it is important that families apply.
Although students who qualify will not need the program to eat meals at school for free, there are other benefits. Students can also receive fee waivers for school and preschool programming, discounts on the SAT and ACT exams and college applications, utilities and internet services and can participate in community organizations such as local sports and YMCA programs.
When families submit their applications schools also benefit. Schools can receive an increase in federal dollars for student and classroom support, school programs during and after school, preschool programs, technology and additional snacks and meals at no cost to all families. These additional snacks and meals often provide food outside of school hours.
The free lunch program this year will allow SVVSD to save an additional 25 cents per meal that will be used to enhance the district’s Farm to School program and local food purchases throughout the school year.