Free from School, but No Free Lunches

June 16, 2017

Free and reduced-priced lunches are something most school districts offer to students in need. Approximately 28% of FCPS students qualify for the free or reduced lunch program their school offers, according to This means that over a quarter of students in Fairfax County are struggling financially. The families these students belong to must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for the free and reduced-price lunches, with stating “families who earn less than 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals, and those with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of poverty level qualify for reduced-price meals.”

As long as there are no income changes within the household, these students are allowed free or reduced lunch throughout the whole school year. However, as the school year comes to an end and summer is just around the corner, financial struggles are likely to continue for children and their families, meaning that they still will be able to afford food.

These students should still be able to have access to the the free lunch program while not attending in school. Even though the program is organized through the school system, FCPS should find a way to reach kids in need when school is out of session. This may not be accomplished in the recent future due to the county’s budget crisis, but finding a way to help get food to these students over the summer should be considered by the school board.

In the meantime, there are still some ways for students to access free meals this summer. School-aged students in need of meals this summer can text “FOOD” to 877877 (or “COMIDA” for Spanish) and find a location closest to them for access to free meals all summer long.

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