The National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) are government assistance plans offered in Texas that provide meals to school children for free or at a reduced price. Children living in financially strained situations may not always have food at home and these programs help low-income households afford healthy meals. These three programs also benefit school-aged children in Texas because having nutrient-rich meals helps children focus and retain the knowledge learned in school.

The School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program provide children with meals that include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains all at little to no cost to the child. The benefits from these programs may only be available while the child is at school. To fill in the gap during summer recess, children may obtain their discounted meals through the Summer Food Service Program. The Summer Food Service Program has several cafeteria locations throughout Texas so that children from every neighborhood has access to up to two meals during the summer.

To meet the eligibility requirements to receive NSLP, SBP and SFSP benefits, the child must attend a public, nonprofit or boarding school. Alternatively, if the child is in foster care, homeless or is a migrant, he or she may still be eligible for free meals even without attending school. These programs also enforce a strict income requirement. To qualify for any of the three programs, the child must live in a household with a combined income that is no more than 185 percent of the federal poverty line. Children living in households that make significantly less than the maximum required income may receive free meals, while children whose families make closer to the income maximum are more likely to obtain reduced meals. Children living in households that benefit from government financial assistance such as SNAP or TANF will more than likely be eligible for free or reduced school meals.

Children may receive free or reduced lunches for as long as they are eligible. Find out more about school meal assistance for children in the following pages:

  • The three programs in Texas
  • Eligibility requirements for the three programs in Texas
  • Apply for National School Lunch program in Texas
  • Approvals and denials in Texas
  • Frequently asked questions