San Francisco schools to provide free meals for students

Students at San Francisco’s public schools will again have access to free and reduced price meals provided by a reinstated program from the San Francisco Unified School District.

The Community Eligibility Provision of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program will offer free breakfast and lunch everyday to students enrolled in one of 54 San Francisco schools.

The program follows studies that indicate eating habits affect students’ academic performance and health. A disparity in home nutrition, the research found, leads to a division in classroom performance between well-fed and hungry students.

“Studies have shown that students who are not hungry perform better in school,” the SFUSD said in a statement. “By providing breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge, we are hoping to create a better learning environment for our students.”

Some of the schools included in the provision are Bessie Carmichael Elementary, Malcom X Elementary, Willie Brown Middle and Mission High, among others. A full list of schools is available on the SFUSD website.

Schools are selected according to the number of enrolled students from households that receive CalFresh and other nutrition assistance programs.

Students who don’t attend one of these schools, however, may still have access to free and reduced price meals.

Households with income less than or equal to established federal guidelines may still receive the benefit if the student is enrolled at a SFUSD school.

Students from a household of 4 making $32,630 a year are eligible for free breakfast, lunch and milk, while students from a household of 4 making $46,435 a year are eligible for reduced-price meals.

Students in households that receive CalFresh benefits are automatically eligible for free meals.

The program, which began July 1, will continue through June 30, 2019.

The federal government releases new eligibility guidelines annually, after which the program will be adjusted and renewed, according to Executive Director of Student Nutrition Services Jennifer LeBarre.

Even if families don’t need nutrition benefits, households are encouraged to fill out and submit forms. School funding and teacher salaries are both informed by the number of forms submitted, similar to how student attendance impacts school funding.

To apply for the benefits, households must fill out a Multipurpose Family Income form, also available on the SFUSD website. Applications can be submitted online, by mail or in person.

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