Increasing the enrollment of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals helps to improve student learning, reduce childhood hunger in your community, and strengthen the financial resources of your school meals program.
Most importantly, we must change the message associated with applying for school meals! When families discover that enrolling their children in school meals can help bring funding for educational programs and free summer or afterschool meals to all of the children in their community, they jump at the chance to contribute. Let families know that they are helping their school by applying.
Here are some resources to help you increase the number of families who return their school meals applications at the beginning of the school year:
Encourage ALL families, regardless of eligibility to return free/reduced price school meal applications. Schools have found that this helps to remove stigma for low-income students and reaches those families who mistakenly think they are not eligible. VT schools have gotten all students to return the applications by:
Download Hunger Free Vermont's Guide to Increasing Enrollment in School Meals for more ideas!