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How to get free and reduced lunches in Guilford County Schools

The district is encouraging parents to fill out the forms, to help bring relief to the daily food costs at school.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The cost for a school breakfast is one dollar. For lunch, it's about three dollars, so what if you can avoid paying for any of it, or avoid paying for breakfast and get lunch at just 40 cents?

Well depending on your situation, Guilford County Schools encourages parents to fill out free and reduced lunch forms.

Currently, 92 Guilford County Schools are under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). This means all meals are free for 72 percent of the district because there is a high need in the community.

That is an increase from 65 schools in 2022. Community Eligibility Provision is a facet of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which provides an alternative to household eligibility applications for free and reduced-price meals in high-poverty local educational agencies and schools.  

The schools qualify for CEP status if there is enough of their students are directly certified through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), or Medicaid.

Parents don't need to worry about filling out a form for those schools because the school submits those applications, but for the 34 schools that don't qualify, parents need to fill out free and reduced lunch forms.

It is not too late to do so.

Eligibility is based on your total household income, your child's individual status, or participation in an assistance program by any member of your household.

The district only needs one application for all the children in your household that attend school in Guilford County Schools. Your US citizenship or immigration status does not affect your eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits.

The Executive Director for School Nutrition for Guilford County Schools, Travis Fisher, said if you're not sure if you qualify, fill out a form anyway. This will help the district identify the needs of each school.

"It's a great program that benefits a lot of students, in our non-CEP schools we go above and beyond to not identify any type of students that qualify for free and reduced lunches," said Fisher.

Families at all schools are encouraged to complete the application, as the information can be used by the district to qualify for grants and other poverty-based programs.

You can find the free and reduced application here.

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