Florida National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program 2024

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Florida National School Lunch Program
Florida National School Lunch Program

What Is the National School Lunch Program?

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.

The program also incorporates wellness policies and Smart Snacks to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity at school.

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National School Lunch Program Benefits

The National School Lunch Program:

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  • Enhances academic performance and behavior by ensuring that students receive the nutrition they need to stay focused; and
  • Improves students’ nutritional intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

National School Lunch Program

When kids incorporate healthy habits into their daily routine at younger ages, they’re more likely to adopt and carry this positive lifestyle into adulthood. Studies show that school lunches are often healthier and less expensive than those brought from home.Across Florida, students can eat school lunch by qualifying at no charge — and lunch is open to all students at a nominal cost. New standards include more fruits and veggies, less sodium and fat, and rich whole grains. 

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School Breakfast Program

Research shows breakfast eaters have better memory, focus and academic success. In Florida, we offer qualifying students nutritious school breakfast at no charge. Breakfast options include protein, fruit, milk and rich whole grains each morning. 

What Role Do We Play?

FDACS administers the National School Lunch Florida Special Milk Program Benefits : Benefits.govat the state level. We provide guidance, training, outreach and technical support to schools operating the program, and we ensure compliance with regulatory guidelines.

Requirements for Sponsors

To become a sponsor of the National School Lunch Program, schools must complete the application process through FDACS.

Once approved, schools will be reimbursed by FDACS for each lunch and breakfast meal served, provided they meet established state and federal regulations.

Schools must:

  • Attend a Child Nutrition Program training.
  • Maintain documentation and verification of children’s eligibility category and count meals by eligibility category (free, reduced-price and paid meals).
  • Maintain meal production records and inventory records that document the amount and types of food served.
  • Maintain records of on-site accountability reviews.
  • Maintain records of all program income and expenditures.

FDACS will conduct periodic reviews of the school lunch and breakfast programs to ensure that program sponsors meet all requirements.

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Who is eligible for Florida National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program?

To be eligible for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state of Florida and all of the following:

  • A parent or primary caregiver, and
  • Responsible for a child(ren) who attends school (high school or under).

In order to qualify, you must have an annual household income (before taxes) that is below the following amounts:

Household SizeMaximum Income Level (Per Year)
1$26,973
2$36,482
3$45,991
4$55,500
5$65,009
6$74,518
7$84,027
8$93,536

For households with more than eight people, add $9,509 per additional person. Always check with the appropriate managing agency to ensure the most accurate guidelines.

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What is the National School Lunch/Breakfast Program?

  • Offers students the opportunity to receive nutritious meals every school day by providing a per-meal reimbursement to participating public and nonprofit schools and residential child care institutions; and
  • Ensures schools/institutions that are interested in prodiving breakfast can do so through the School Breakfast Program; and
  • Incorporates wellness policies to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity in the school environment. 

How do I apply for Florida National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program?

Schools send school meal applications home at the beginning of each school year. However, you may apply for school meals at any time throughout the school year by submitting a household application directly to your school. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will provide you with an example of an application. Please contact your school to determine if you need to fill out an application. Contact your state’s agency to confirm your school participates in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program.

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School Breakfast Program

The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federally assisted meal program that helps schools provide nutritious breakfasts to students. The USDA administers this program at the federal level, the VDOE administers the program at the state level, and school divisions administer the program at the local level. Breakfast menus must provide one-fourth of the daily recommended levels for protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calories.

Participating schools must serve breakfasts that meet federal nutrition standards. School divisions are required to provide free and reduced-price breakfasts to eligible children. Private schools interested in participating in the NSLP or SBP should contact Andrea Nannery, SNP Coordinator in the VDOE-SNP, via email at Andrea.Nannery@doe.virginia.gov.

Afterschool Snack Program

Participating NSLP schools may sponsor an Afterschool Snack Program (ASP) if they provide children with scheduled educational or enrichment activities after the school day. Schools receive reimbursement for snacks served to students. Snacks must contain at least two of the following four components: milk, meat/meat alternate, vegetable, fruit or full-strength juice, and whole-grain or enriched bread/cereal. The program must be operated by the local school nutrition program to qualify for reimbursement.

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Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

Participating NSLP schools may apply to participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program which is intended to create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices, expanding the variety of fruits and vegetables students experience, increasing student fruit and vegetable consumption, and improving overall student diet and future health outcomes.

Summer NSLP and the Summer SBP

Participating NSLP and SBP schools have the opportunity to feed students during academic summer school sessions through the Summer NSLP and the Summer SBP. Local school divisions may elect to participate in the programs during academic summer school sessions. All program regulations, meal requirements, and funding are equal to the NSLP and SBP offered during the regular school year.

Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is designed to give students in the community access to the nutritious, well-balanced meals they receive throughout the regular school year. The program allows sponsors to combine a feeding program with a summer activity program in areas where 50 percent of the children in the community are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

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At-Risk Portion of the Child and Adult Care Food Program

The purpose of the At-Risk portion of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is to ensure children have access to nutritious meals before and after school. School divisions and community organizations receive reimbursement for serving meals and snacks that contain milk, meat/meat alternates, vegetables, fruits or full-strength juice, and a whole-grain.

In addition to the meal, program operators must also provide children with scheduled educational or enrichment activities. The program is eligible to operate in areas where 50 percent of children in the community are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the NSLP.

Virginia Direct Certification with Medicaid Demonstration Project

Virginia is one of the states approved to use Medicaid income data to connect students to free or reduced-price school meals through direct certification (DC). The VDOE, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Medical Assistance Services have partnered to provide school divisions information used to directly certify students.

Students who are Medicaid recipients with a household income that meets the USDA NLSP guidelines for free or reduced-price meals are matched to school division enrollment records to certify their eligibility. This confidential DC process automatically certifies eligible students for school meal benefits without an application. As a result of the Medicaid DC Demonstration Project, more Virginia schools also participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) which provides breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students.

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FAQs. Florida National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program

Q 1. What are the Florida National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP)?

The NSLP and SBP are federally assisted meal programs operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions in Florida. They provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches and breakfasts to children each school day.

Q 2. Who is eligible for the NSLP and SBP?

Eligibility for the NSLP and SBP is based on household income. Children from families that meet certain income guidelines are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Children who are homeless, migrant, or foster care are also eligible for free meals.

Q 3. How can I apply for the NSLP and SBP?

To apply for the NSLP and SBP, parents or guardians must complete an application form and submit it to their child’s school. The application form is typically available in the school’s office.

Q 4. What are the benefits of the NSLP and SBP?

The NSLP and SBP provide many benefits to children, including:

  • Improved nutrition and health: The meals served through the NSLP and SBP meet USDA nutritional standards and provide children with the essential nutrients they need to grow and learn.
  • Increased academic achievement: Studies have shown that children who participate in the NSLP and SBP are more likely to attend school regularly, have improved grades, and are less likely to be absent or tardy.
  • Reduced food insecurity: The NSLP and SBP help to ensure that children have access to nutritious food, even if their families are struggling to make ends meet.

Q 5. What are the requirements for schools to participate in the NSLP and SBP?

Schools that participate in the NSLP and SBP must meet certain requirements, including:

  • Serving nutritionally balanced meals: Meals must meet USDA nutritional standards and provide children with the essential nutrients they need to grow and learn.
  • Offering free or reduced-price meals to eligible children: Schools must offer free or reduced-price meals to children from families that meet certain income guidelines.
  • Maintaining meal production records and inventory records: Schools must maintain documentation and verification of children’s eligibility category and count meals by eligibility category (free, reduced-price and paid meals). Maintained meal production records and inventory records that document the amount and types of food served.

Q 6. How can I learn more about the NSLP and SBP?

For more information about the NSLP and SBP in Florida, please visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) website or contact the FDACS Child Nutrition Program at 1-800-342-9873.

Additional resources:

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