CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The school lunch program will be extended for the 2022-2023 school year to provide free meals to all students.

According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state budget allocated funds to be used to supplement federal USDA reimbursements, allowing for National School Lunch Program meals to be provided to all students at no charge and to be reimbursed at the federal “free” rate.

The school districts are reminding parents to fill out the application when they are distributed to ensure meal reimbursements are made to the districts and for additional benefits such as Pandemic EBT are available to families. Households that qualify for free or reduced-price meals by August 31st will qualify for summer 2022 Pandemic EBT.

Massachusetts has become the fifth state to provide state support to extend the universal free meals beyond Congress’ expiration date of June 30, 2022.