The Indiana Department of Education recently shared federal eligibility guidelines for free or reduced-price school meals and free milk served under the federally funded National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Programs, and Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Free and reduced lunch guidelines updated for Indiana school children

Household size and income criteria, which are used to determine a child’s eligibility, are available here. Local school corporation offices also have this information.

In Indiana, one in seven children is facing hunger, and children are present in more than 46% of households receiving SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

According to the Indiana Public School Review, about 42% of public school students in Indiana are eligible for free lunches this 2022-2023 school year. Indiana ranks 23rd among states with students on free or reduced lunch plans.

IDOE offers a chart of household size and income criteria that is used to determine if a child is eligible for a lunch program. For example, a students’ parents in a four-person household will need to make less than $51,338 a year. 

Child hunger doesn’t end with the school week. Blessing in a Backpack is just one program sending food home with children to help keep them fed during the weekend. It serves 88,900 students in more than 1,000 programs in 44 states, including Indiana. 

—Tabby Fitzgerald

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