Federal free lunch program ending for all schools



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Parents, listen up — no more free breakfasts or lunches for your kids. That's because the federal government is ending its free breakfast and lunch program it started two years ago during the pandemic.

It will not go into effect until next school year, but officials with the Jordan School District are wanting parents to be thinking about it right now.

The day KSL visited Heartland Elementary School in West Jordan, the lunch meal choices included spaghetti and meat sauce, chicken bites and tater tots, homemade bread sticks and brownies, and a variety of fruit and salad.

The cost of all this was completely free for every single student that went through the line.

That's the way it's been for the last two years across the country. Students K-12 have not had to pay a penny for lunch or breakfast meals, which has been a huge financial burden lifted off of parents shoulders.

"It's been a real blessing. I think during such a difficult time, to be able to provide meals, there's one less thing to think about," said Buddy Alger, principal at Heartland Elementary School.

But now, that's all about to go away. The free breakfast and lunch program will end in just three months when school starts up again in August.

That's why the Jordan School District wants to get the word out now about asking parents to fill out the applications necessary to see if their student or students qualify for free or reduced lunches.

"My worry is that first day of school is going to roll around next year and everyone's going to say, 'Oh no, I forgot to put money in my lunch counter. I forgot to apply for free or reduced meals,'" said Katie Bastian, the district's nutrition director.

"It can be a real expense families need to prepare for. Whether it's filling out an application for free or reduced lunch or just preparing for financially knowing that's its coming," Alger said.

Check with your local school district for the Free and Reduced Meal Application and when they start accepting them.

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Utah K-12 educationEducationHome & FamilyUtah
Dan Rascon

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