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Guidelines announced for free and reduced-price lunch programs

The Minnesota Department of Education has announced the household income guidelines for the federal free and reduced-price meal program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets the guidelines for the meals from the National School Lunch Program, ...

The Minnesota Department of Education has announced the household income guidelines for the federal free and reduced-price meal program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets the guidelines for the meals from the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program.

The income guidelines are effective from July 1 through June 30, 2016. Parents are encouraged to contact their school, child care center, family child care home or adult care center to find out whether it participates in the programs.

Participating schools and childcare centers that charge separately for meals will provide a form upon request to apply for free or reduced-price meals. Some schools have a universal free meal program providing free school meals to all students without applications from households.

Most participating centers and all participating family child care homes provide meals to all enrolled participants without any separate charge. At schools and centers that charge separately for meals, households with incomes that are less than or equal to the guidelines for free meals qualify for free meals.

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Households with incomes that are greater than the guidelines for free meals, but less than or equal to the guidelines for reduced-price meals, qualify for reduced-price meals.

An application for free or reduced-price meals can be approved if it contains complete documentation of household income, or documentation of current participation in the Minnesota Family Investment Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

Foster children qualify for free meals based on their foster status. Most children enrolled in Head Start and Even Start automatically qualify for free meals.

An application to an adult care center can be approved if it contains complete documentation of household income or documentation of current participation in Medical Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

Participating schools and centers accept applications for free or reduced-price meals at any time during the year. A household may qualify for free or reduced-price meals due to a temporary loss of income, such as a period of unemployment.

An appeal procedure is available for households whose applications are denied. Information supplied on an application for free or reduced-price meals may be verified at any time. In the operation of USDA Child Nutrition programs, no participant will be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

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