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Worried about how much food and housing cost? Living in the Bay Area is expensive, but healthy school meals for your kids don’t have to be. Contact your school and ask about free and reduced price meals. The application is simple, quick, and families across the region are filling them out.

Paying for fresh, nutritious food can be difficult. Kids need healthy food in order to focus and learn. Luckily, many kids and teens under 18 can get free or reduced price breakfast and lunch at school.

Sofia, a mother of three, worried that getting free and reduced price meals might be hard. She also wanted to support her family on her own. Now, Sofia tells all of her friends to call their schools. She explains, “At first, I was scared to ask for help. But applying for free meals at school was so much easier than I thought. I only had to answer a few questions, and then the school helped me save on my daughter’s college SAT fees too!” When a family applies for free and reduced price meals, they also learn about other services and discounts from their schools.

Applying is easy.

Caretakers provide the child’s name and grade, whether they get help through other assistance programs, and sometimes household income and address. Check out a sample form at the bottom of this article.

Zia MacWilliams, Manager of Federal Children’s Nutrition Programs at Second Harvest, explains how meal programs make life easier for families. She says, “It’s easy to apply. Families have more money for rent and groceries, and students have more energy to focus on school – everybody wins!”

If you participate in CalFresh or certain other federal programs, all of your children automatically qualify for free school meals. Also, meal programs are available to non-citizens. According to the USDA, “You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced price meals.”1

Contact your school today and ask about free and reduced price meals to make sure your child receives the healthy meals he/she needs to succeed at school.

Need free groceries? Call 1-800-984-3663 weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or 여기를 클릭하세요

Sample Free and Reduced Price Meal Application: The 4 questions are highlighted.

Note: This application is only an example. Contact your school for the application for your district.