MN Free School Meals Program

  • What is the Minnesota Free School Meals Program?

    The Minnesota Free School Meals Program provides state reimbursement to schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program so that students can have one breakfast and one lunch at no cost at school.

    Can the meals be picked up or brought home like we did during the pandemic?

    No. Congregate meal service is required in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. Meals may not be taken off campus, sent home, delivered, or picked up by parents or others.

    Do I still need to complete the Application for Educational Benefits?

    It is important for families to complete the Application for Educational Benefits. Applications for Educational Benefits determine how much funding your child’s school receives for educational programs and supports.  Additionally, eligible families can qualify for other benefits, such as:

    • WIC Benefits
    • Metro Transits’ Transit Assistance Program
    • FCC Affordable Connectivity Program/Reduced price internet programs
    • Some summer camps, athletics programs and/or child cares offer scholarships or discounts.

    Online Applications are available through Skyward Family Access for anyone wishing to apply for educational benefits.

    Or use the following paper application: Application - English

    What is included in the MN Free School Meals Program?

    In schools with Offer versus Serve (high schools and many elementary schools):

    • At breakfast, the student must choose at least 3 items to be counted as a reimbursable meal. The student must choose a ½ cup serving of fruit or vegetable as part of their breakfast.
    • At lunch, the student must choose at least 3 components to be counted as a reimbursable meal. The student must choose a ½ cup serving of fruit or vegetable as part of their lunch.

    What is NOT included in the MN Free School Meals Program?  

    Single item purchases and non-reimbursable meals are not free. Some examples include:

    • Carton of milk
    • Snack items
    • Second entrée
    • A second breakfast or a second lunch (student second lunch is $5) 
    • Meals that do not meet the minimum requirements
    • Meals served to teachers, staff, and other adults (adult lunch price is $5)