What it takes to get your kids to eat at school for free

Who is eligible for free school meals?

There are several categories of children who will be fed at the expense of the budget.

Primary school students

This provision is enshrined in the law on education. Schools must feed students in grades 1-4 at least once a day. And at least one hot dish is a must. Breakfast or lunch can be organized at the educational institution – at the discretion of the administration.

In some schools, they can feed twice – at the expense of the budget or by collecting additional contributions from parents. Much depends on the region and the specific institution.

Children with disabilities

They are entitled to two meals a day . If the child is homeschooled, feeding can be replaced with monetary compensation.

Children from large families

By law, they are also entitled to hot meals.

Other categories of children

Often the decision to provide food is made by regional or local authorities. They determine who they want to feed at the budget expense, based on their own considerations and capabilities. For example, it is often available to children from low-income families. The authorities may also not fully pay for food, but share the material contribution to this with parents. In general, it is worth checking on the website of the local department responsible for education who is entitled to free school meals in your locality.

What do you need to get free school meals?

If we are talking about elementary school students, then nothing needs to be done. The child will receive meals upon completion of the course. If this requires special grounds, then you will have to collect documents. Typically, the package includes a birth certificate and a paper confirming the right to benefits – a certificate of health or family income.

But it is better to find out the exact information at the school or at the local department responsible for education or social security. Unfortunately, there is no single algorithm here.

How to control what children are fed

Providing food at the expense of the budget does not mean that one should humbly rejoice at what is given. Even though it’s called free meals, it’s not like the kind uncle takes them out of his pocket. These are our taxes . So parents have the right to watch what children are fed for their money. And also demand improvements if the quality of food leaves much to be desired.

Rospotrebnadzor even developed guidelines in which he indicated what moms and dads should pay attention to during checks. But how the inspections themselves will be organized is determined by the school.

If the parents are not satisfied with the result of the checks, they can discuss them at general meetings. And also write appeals to the school or the catering company and demand improvements.

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