With a COVID 19 pandemic relief program that fed, for free, all school-age children attending public schools,  President Biden, Vice President Harris, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, and the great majority of the rest of the Democratic Party want to extend a COVID 19 pandemic relief program that would expand free and reduced lunch to more school-age children attending public schools.

The current pandemic relief program was a great success in reducing food shortages and insecurities in most American homes.

It is a program that any serious public servant should want to replicate.

It would help children get the vital nutrients they need to function in both school and their homes.

It would help families meet the strains of rising food costs caused by supply chain obstacles.

It would reduce child starvation and food insecurity.

Who would not want that?

Mitch McConnell and the Republicans apparently.

They think that since the pandemic is mostly over (It is not) and these programs are no longer needed.

Making sure every child gets a good breakfast and lunch every day should not require a pandemic to ensure it happens.

It should be a basic human right, like health care, for children to have three well-balanced meals every day.

The time to apply for free and/or reduced meals for your school-age child is NOW. 

Until the federal government expands eligibility to more, and hopefully, all families, in future legislation, it is important that families apply to see if their child can qualify for free or reduced meals at the beginning of the school year.

Arizona Department of Education spokesperson Richie Taylor advised that qualifying families need to apply for the 2022/23 free and reduced program in order to see if they qualify for assistance because the summer program that extended free meals for everyone in the state will expire at the start of the new school year.

He said:

“It’s vital parents fill out the forms available from their schools to apply for this benefit. Students eligible for regular SNAP benefits are automatically eligible for free meals.”

Families should click here to access the Department of Economic Security website to see if they qualify for the $391 annual free and reduced school meal benefit.

According to Mr. Taylor:

“When families receive the benefit depends on the child’s age. Eligibility is determined by where the school-age child was enrolled at the end of the school year.”

The deadline to apply is July 30, 2022.