Students return to school with free meals

Free school meals were approved for the 22-23 academic year as part of Nevada’s food security initiatives


Ciara Ressel
Public Information Officer


  • Free Meals for Students
SPARKS, Nev. - August 08, 2022

Students are returning to classrooms with additional resources this year. The State of Nevada has invested $75 million for free school meals in Nevada schools operating the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to continue pandemic recovery and ensure students have food to eat by providing free school breakfast and lunch. NSLP is administered through the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA).

“We are so happy to be able to provide this assistance to families throughout the state,” said NDA Director Jennifer Ott. “The NDA is committed to addressing food insecurity throughout Nevada and this will have a great impact.”     

School meals have been free since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 through U.S. Department of Agriculture waivers. Prior to the pandemic, the only meals provided for free or at a reduced rate were at schools operating the NSLP to students whose families met eligibility requirements. The approval of this funding will provide another year of free meals to schools operating NSLP and allow families more time to recover. 

“It’s important that all families fill out the Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility application to ensure we are utilizing funding as best we can,” said Director Ott. “Completing the eligibility application is also about more than just school meals, it provides important data that allows schools to receive additional funding and benefits to support students and teachers.”  

The more families that fill out the Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility applications will increase the amount of federal funding through NSLP and reduce the amount of state funds needed, allowing them to be used in other ways. Families that have not filled out the Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility application, regardless of anticipated eligibility, should reach out to their school to complete the application.  

Free school meals is one of several resources available to students and their families this year including the Affordable Connectivity Program providing a $30/month discount on home broadband services, child care resources and other food assistance services. To learn more about other food assistance programs through the NDA, visit

About the Nevada Department of Agriculture

The Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) mission is to preserve, protect and promote Nevada’s agriculture. The department has 225 dedicated employees providing services in its five divisions, Administrative Services, Animal Industry, Measurement Standards, Food and Nutrition, and Plant Health and Compliance. The department’s $288 million budget facilitates regulatory and administrative work in agriculture and food manufacturing industries, protecting public and environmental health and worker safety, and providing food distribution and oversight for the United States Department of Agriculture’s school and community nutrition programs.