Students returning to Washoe County classrooms this year will receive free school meals for the entire school year through a $75 million state investment in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). School begins in Washoe County on Aug. 15.
The NSLP provides breakfast and lunch to students and is administered through the Nevada Department of Agriculture, and this year will do so for free for all students, regardless of income.
“We are so happy to be able to provide this assistance to families throughout the state,” said NDA Director Jennifer Ott. “The NDA is committed to addressing food insecurity throughout Nevada and this will have a great impact.”
Families are encouraged to fill out the Free and Reduced Lung eligibility application, regardless of income and anticipated eligibility, to increase federal funds received from the NSLP. This, school district officials said, will free up some of the state funds to be used in other ways. Applications are available through district schools.
Free lunches were initially offered to all students during the COVID-19 pandemic, with pre-packaged meals available for pick-up from school and community locations. That program was paid for through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure children continued to have access to healthy meals despite school closures.
Experts have said that access to the free meals can have a number of positive effects on students including improved school attendance, behavior and academic achievement. The free meals during the pandemic also helped families who were financially struggling due to job losses, home isolation and other COVID impacts.