Free school lunch programs in Delaware changing next year

For the past two years, there has been such a thing as a free lunch – and breakfast – for students in most Delaware schools.

But that’s changing for the 2022-23 school year for about half the students.

All public schools in Delaware and nonprofit private schools are eligible for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s school nutrition program that helps provide low-cost meals for all students along with reduced-cost and free meals for students from low-income households.

But during the pandemic, the USDA provided funds for free meals for all students in all schools in the program, regardless of income.

When schools were closed in the spring of 2020, some districts offered meals that could be picked up at the schools. Some districts took buses into neighborhoods to drop off meals. Some did both.

“It’s been a very busy couple of years for our school nutrition staffs,” said Aimee F. Beam, education associate in the Delaware Department of Education Nutrition Programs. “When the school buildings shut down, we never stopped.”

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