Save money with free and reduced lunch programs

Story and photo by Suzanne Smith
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Customer Management Services Program Manager

What would you say to an extra $371.05 a year? That is how much a family with one student on the USDA free lunch program can save during a school year. 

The USDA School Lunch Program is offered at all KMC schools and is designed to meet federal requirements for nutritiously-balanced meals and offer free or reduced-price meals for eligible children. The program is available to all children attending Department of Defense Dependents schools.

Families need to apply for free/reduced lunches annually. Eligibility for receiving free or reduced-price lunches is based on total family income and household size. The DOD has been approved to apply the Alaska Guidelines, so more families may qualify for the program than in the past. With the Army & Air Force Exchange Service computerized tracking system, there is no distinction made between students – all receive the same meals.

For example, an E-7 with 15 years of service and a total family size of four (sponsor, spouse and two children) will qualify for the reduced lunch program, providing there is no additional income in the household. The current price of reduced lunch is 40 cents versus the full price of $2.05, for a possible savings of $298.65 per child during the course of the school year.

Families wishing to apply for the USDA Free/Reduced Lunch Program will need a completed USAFE Form 400 and a current copy of the sponsor’s leave and earnings statement as well as pay statements from any other employed household members. The Free/Reduced Lunch Application Form can be obtained at any of the KMC schools and at any school liaison office.

To turn in your application or for more information, contact your school’s liaison office:
435th Mission Support Group/SLO, Ramstein/Landstuhl Schools
    Ramstein, Bldg. 2106, Room 207
    480-9374 or 06371-47-9374
431st Air Base Group/SLO, Kaiserslautern/Sembach Schools
    Kapaun, Bldg. 2787, Room 306
    489-6771 or 0631-536-6771
(Courtesy of 435th Mission Support Group School’s Liaison Office)