Serving Massachusetts

School Meals


Kids Can Eat At School For Free In Massachusetts

As of the 2023-2024 school year, free school meals are available to ALL students— permanently! This means all Massachusetts students attending a school that participates in the National School Lunch Program can enjoy a tasty, nutritious lunch daily at no cost to their families. And free breakfast is provided to all students at schools participating in the School Breakfast Program.

About School Meals

Everyone Eats—And It’s Better When We Do It Together

Free school meals keep nutritious food on kids’ plates, and stress off families’ shoulders. But while breakfast and lunch may be necessities, it doesn't mean they can't be fun, too. Eating school meals not only nourishes the body, but gives students a chance to make friends and build social skills that will last a lifetime.

Your Favorite Dish May Be One You Haven’t Tried Yet

School meals help kids establish healthy eating habits that can reduce the cases and severity of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. When kids see their peers trying new foods from the school cafeteria, they are more likely to hop on the bandwagon and try new healthy foods that boost their growth and learning.  That way, parents only use their hard-earned groceries to make foods they know their kids already enjoy.

Now that school meals are provided at no cost for all students, more kids from households of all incomes are eating their breakfast and lunch at school. Making families’ lives easier and kids’ lives more joyful, delicious, and community-oriented. 

Who knew all it took to get kids to enjoy vegetables is a little healthy peer pressure?

The Benefits of School Meals

Take one thing off your plate, while making sure theirs is full.

  • Saves you time — out of bed and out the door!
  • Saves you money — an average of $1,200 per year/per child. An added bonus is fewer plastic sandwich bags taking up your precious drawer space.
  • Boosts revenue for your child’s school —  which is reinvested to improve your child's school meal program, so they can continue to make the meals they serve even tastier, and healthier.
  • Breaks down barriers and stigma — more kids are already enjoying breakfast and lunch together at school now that they’re free. Now, everyone gets to enjoy recess on a full stomach.


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The benefits of School Breakfast

But First, Breakfast!

It's much easier to change the world on a full stomach. That’s why every morning, many schools participating in the School Breakfast Program serve fresh and delicious brain food to all students, at no cost to their families. Plus, some schools even offer free snacks!

When your students start their day eating school breakfast, they'll have:

  • Better Productivity — the records show that students who eat breakfast have better memory (great for test-taking), better behavior, and better attendance records.
  • Better Health — by stopping the "hanger" before it starts and lowering obesity risk. 
  • Better Mornings  — one less thing for you to worry about, which is pretty much priceless. 
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Better Mornings Brought to you By:

5 Reasons Eating Free School Meals is a No-Brainer

All around, free school meals make life easier for families— they make families’ lives simpler and kids’ lives more joyful, delicious, and community-oriented.

Teenage girls in colorful outfits say hey to each other in the hallway at school, stay full. eat at school. Starts Line

Add Free Breakfast To Your Kids’ Morning Routine!

Contact your student's school to learn if they offer breakfast and how your child can participate.

Frequently Asked Questions

All schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program provide free school meals. This includes all public schools and charter schools, and some private schools in Massachusetts.

Lunch is free for all students and is served in every school that participates in the National School Lunch Program. Many schools also offer breakfast and some even provide a snack. If your child’s school serves lunch, breakfast, and a snack, all are available at no cost. If you are unsure of what meals are offered by your child's school, contact your school district directly to find out.

Yes, for the 2023-2024 school year, schools are operating in person and free school meals are available in school to all students.

Yes, school districts require families to complete the Free & Reduced Price School Meal Application in order for qualifying families to be eligible for other programs, such as waited activity fees and college testing fees (eligible programs differ by district). The only exception is for schools/districts that are operating the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). In CEP schools, families are not required to complete the Free & Reduced Price School Meal application. If you are unsure if your child attends a CEP school, please reach out to the Food Service Department in your district.

Your child participating in free school meals does not take away meals from anyone else – in fact – it helps other children and families who need it most!  All families are encouraged to take advantage of free school meals because it:

  • Saves you time & money
  • Boosts revenue for your child's school
  • Breaks down barriers and stigma for other children who eat school meals

Yes, school meals are required to follow a federal meal pattern that includes specified amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. School meals must also meet limits for sodium, saturated fat, and overall calories. Menus often feature locally sourced food supporting farms, fisheries, and other producers in local communities.

If you live in Massachusetts and need food assistance, start by calling Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline today at 1-800-645-8333 or visit our Get Help page to learn more. 

We can connect you to programs that will help you afford groceries and put food on the table. 

Calling us is always free, and confidential.  Our counselors can assist you with:

  • Finding out if you are eligible for SNAP (financial assistance for groceries) and help you apply. 
  • Finding free meals for your kids in your community
  • Learning about how to use your HIP benefits
  • Finding meal programs and food pantries 
  • and more...

If you received P-EBT benefits, there is a good chance you could qualify for SNAP benefits, call us today and our counselors will pre-screen you for SNAP to find out if you are eligible.