Washington public schools play a vital role in children’s health by providing free and reduced-price meals to students in need. The National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and Special Milk Program are administered by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), art of the Department of Agriculture.
Locally, the Northshore School District (NSD) has school meal programs at reduced- or no-cost. All students who students who qualify for reduced-price meals can receive a breakfast at no charge, while K-3 also receive a lunch at no charge.
The application process for participation in school meal programs is simple and confidential. Application packets for NSD Students are no longer mailed to families. Instead, an online application or downloaded application must be filled out and sent to the district’s Food Services department.
Households with income levels below certain thresholds are encouraged to apply for any or all of the programs listed above. Households denied eligibility can appeal the decision by contacting their school.
Applications can be submitted any time during the school year. Households that experience a change in income due to job loss or other circumstances are encouraged to apply.
Students receiving help through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Basic Food Program – as well as all other students in the same household – automatically qualify for free meals.
Foster children are eligible for free meal benefits. Homeless and migrant students, households taking part in Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and students in Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program are eligible for free meals.
Eligibility lasts from the date of approval up to the first 30 operating days of the next school year or until a family contacts the school or district.
The income eligibility guidelines listed below are used to determine the eligibility of children to receive free or reduced-price meals or free milk. Washington State legislation, pays the cost of lunch for public school students eligible for reduced-price meals in grades K‒3 and the cost of breakfast for public school students eligible for reduced-price meals in grades K-12.
If you have questions about eligibility, contact your child’s school or the NSD’s Food Services page.