Exceptions to the free school meals service will expire

The Hawaii Department of Education School Lunch Service will return to pre-pandemic operations for the 2022-23 school year due to the June 30, 2022 expiration of free student lunch waivers of the United States Department of Agriculture.

“We are grateful to have had this federal waiver that has allowed our schools to support families throughout the pandemic with student meals at no cost,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “Our ongoing free summer meals program should give families some time to return to normal school meal services, and we strongly encourage those who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals to apply as soon as applications become available. .”

For the 2022-23 school year, school meals operations will revert to the normal national school meals program, where only eligible children will receive meals at a free or reduced price. Meal prices for the upcoming back-to-school season remain unchanged at the following rates:

Families eligible for free and discounted meals can apply through online applications at EZMealApp.com starting July 15. Paper applications will also be available at schools.

Applications can be submitted at any time of the year; however, families should allow the Department 10 business days to fully process applications. The information provided on the application will only be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and will remain confidential. Information submitted may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials.

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The household size and income criteria identified below will be used to determine eligibility for free and discounted benefits. Children from households with incomes at or below the indicated levels are entitled to free or reduced-price meals:

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Students who were eligible for free or reduced-price meals at the end of the last school year will have this status retained until September 13, 2022 or until a new application is processed.

If students are members of households receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, also known as TANF, no application is required for free meal benefits as all children in these households are eligible for free meal benefits. If a child is not listed on the notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school to have free meal benefits extended to that child.

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Students also enrolled in schools participating in the Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, program do not need to submit an application, as all students attending these schools receive free breakfast and lunch. The most recent list of PEC participating schools is available here.

Once applications have been processed, households will be notified of their child’s eligibility. Households approved for free or reduced-price meals are not required to report changes in income status, household size, or when the household is no longer eligible for SNAP or TANF. Families who have been approved for discounted meals can reapply at any time if they become eligible for free meals. If a household chooses to decline free meals for children, the household should contact the school.

Households will be notified of their children’s eligibility for free meals if they are defined by law as homeless, migrant, runaway, foster child or enrolled in Head Start, when this information is communicated to the HIDOE School Feeding Services Branch.

The Ministry will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians can discuss a decision on an application with the review officer on an informal basis, or request a formal appeal hearing of the decision to:

Lindsay Rodrigues
School Feeding Program Administrator
1106 Koko Head Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
808-784-5500

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