Universal free lunches at schools will come to an end in the coming weeks.

Expanded federal funding passed during the early part of the pandemic was not renewed in the latest spending bill. 

Since 2020, schools provided all kids with free meals through the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Free Breakfast and Lunch program. 

These waivers expired on June 30.

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Now schools will do what they did pre-pandemic. 

Applications for the Natrona County School District free or reduced-price lunches will be available in August. 

Families need to apply for free or reduced-cost meals if they qualify by going HERE.

Children who do not qualify for free or reduced-price meals will pay full price. 

In a survey by the School Nutrition Association, pre-pandemic national meal price averages were as follows:

LunchBreakfast
Elementary$2.48$1.46
Middle$2.68$1.53
High$2.74$1.55

There are still many ways children can get free meals, according to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service: “Children are automatically eligible for free meals if anyone in their household gets SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR benefits.”

In a July 22 press release from the USDA, there will be an increase in funding to help schools continue serving kids healthy meals and provide financial relief during the 2022-23 school year. 

The amount of additional funding that Wyoming schools and daycare providers will receive for food services comes to $9,260,000. 

For other resources and food assistance programs, reach out to USDA’s National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (for English) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish). To find free summer meals for kids near you, visit USDA’s Find Meals for Kids site. In most states, you can also call 211 for help and services.

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