Food for Thought urges eligible families to complete free, reduced lunch applications

Published 6:47 am Thursday, August 11, 2022

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As families are preparing for the new school year, there is one “new” task that will look very familiar. Completing the Free and Reduced Lunch application was temporarily waived during the pandemic, but it is a requirement again for students who are eligible for no-cost breakfasts and lunches when schools open in August.

“It’s been almost three years since people have needed to complete an application; it’s just not on their radar,” said Kelleta Govan, the director of school nutrition at Dare County Schools.

As a side benefit, Govan explained that there are a myriad of services linked to that paperwork. Additional benefits may include reduced fees for Advanced Placement testing, internet access, school funding and pandemic EBT benefits.

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Additionally, the Outer Banks Food for Thought (FFT) uses the numbers of approved applications to plan their weekend meal deliveries. FFT board members are hopeful the re-instated paperwork requirement will allow them to reach more households of students who are at risk of missing nutritional meals and snacks during weekends.

There is no need to wait for the paper applications to be sent home with students; it is available online now at

Families who prefer to fill out a form by hand and submit it on paper may visit to print out a form.

Govan explained that families can submit applications anytime during the school year. Many families affected by seasonal employment qualify well after the school year begins.

“While it’s completely anonymous who is receiving our weekend meals, it’s vital for us to know how many meals we will be packing this year so we can fund and pack the right amount of groceries,” said Bobbie Murray, president of Food for Thought.

Currently, there are 22.1% of Dare County students who qualify for free and reduced meals. Once approved, a student is eligible to receive services for the remainder of the school year regardless of changes in household income.

Food for Thought is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that provides healthy non-perishable breakfasts and lunches for more than 400 students who meet specific criteria in Dare County during school year weekends. All food is purchased at cost, not donated. Funds to support our programs come from grants and individual donors. Learn more at