The Oct. 14, 2020 edition of The Impact from Pennsylvania Department of Human Services shares information about food resources for Pennsylvania children.

Food is a necessary resource for all people, but children especially need access to healthy meals in order to grow and thrive. October 12-16 is National School Lunch Week. The National School Lunch Program and other resources are available to PA families to ensure children have the nutritious meals they need.


National School Lunch Program (NSLP)


The NSLP is a federal and state reimbursement program for each meal served that meets federal requirements. All NSLP sponsors are required to offer free and reduced-price lunches to eligible children.

Information on the program and application can be found on the PA Department of Education’s website or applicants can contact their child’s school to learn more and find out if your child is eligible.


Free School Meals Extension


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that schools can provide free meals to all students for the rest of the 2020-21 school year. These flexibilities, ensure that schools can continue to provide the meals despite the uncertainty and hardship caused by the pandemic. Under normal circumstances, those meals must be served in a group setting. However, in a public health emergency, the law allows USDA the authority to waive the group setting meal requirement, which is vital during a social distancing situation.

Whether students are learning from home, at the school or a mix of both, the flexibilities of the program will keep kids fed. Find meals for kids from the USDA interactive map.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


SNAP helps more than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians access food, including over 700,000 children. With the support of SNAP, children go on to have higher graduation rates, increased adult earnings, and improved health outcomes.

If you’re new to the program, applying is easy and can be done online via COMPASS. More information on the program is available on the DHS SNAP web page.


Additional PA Food Resources


Other resources, like food pantries, are available for those in need. There is no shame in getting help and a collaboration between private, public, and nonprofit sectors is at work across the state to assist Pennsylvania families. A comprehensive list of resources is available from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.