Friendswood ISD released its policy July 26 for providing free and reduced-price meals during the 2022-23 school year, which includes an increase in the maximum income eligible, according to a district press release.

FISD will begin distributing letters Aug. 1 to households with children in the district regarding benefits and how households can apply if needed. Applications are available online or at 402 Laurel Drive, Friendswood.

Under this year’s income eligibility guidelines, the maximum annual income for a household of three to qualify is $42,606 for reduced-price meals and $29,939 for free meals, an increase of 5% from the 2021-22 school year.

FISD provided 342 students with free or reduced-price meals during the 2020-21 school year, per the TEA.

The benefits are part of the federally funded National School Lunch Program. As such, the district utilizes income eligibility guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. The USDA determined children from households with incomes at or below 130% of the federal poverty level qualify for free meals, and between 130%-185% qualify for reduced-price meals.

The district uses three criteria to determine if a child is eligible for benefits, per the press release.

If household income at or below the income eligibility levels qualifies a child, an adult in the household must fill out an application and return it to FISD’s Food Service office. If a household receives benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, it will not need to complete an application to be included. Foster, homeless, runaway and migrant children and children displaced by a declared disaster or enrolled in Head Start or Even Start can receive benefits as well.

Should a household’s financial circumstances change due to unemployment or an increase in size, children who were not originally eligible may become eligible for assistance. Applications for benefits can be submitted any time during the school year.

To decline benefits or find out why a letter was not received, FISD Food Service can be contacted at 281-996-2596.