MN Free School Meals Program:
On March 17, 2023, Governor Walz signed the MN Free School Meals bill into law. The MN Free School Meals Program is a permanent program that provides state reimbursement to schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program so that students can have one breakfast and one lunch at no cost at school. The Free School Meals Program began on July 1, 2023.
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:
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.
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. 2 In schools that choose not to do Offer versus Serve (some elementary schools and many schools that purchase meals from a vendor):
At breakfast and lunch, the student must take all of the items included in the meal. This includes the entrée, fruits, vegetables, and milk.
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
A second breakfast or a second lunch
Meals that do not meet the minimum requirements
Meals served to teachers, staff, and other adults
In accordance with Federal Civil Rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Civil Rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior credible activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g , Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: email@example.com.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.