The Pulaski County Special School District boasts many dedicated educators and administrators from 26 schools across central Arkansas, including the DRIVEN Virtual Academy now starting its third year with the district. PCSSD understands the importance of quality student nutrition and the benefits it provides to students and families. PCSSD is also in its third year of a partnership with Chartwells K12 to enhance its students nutrition department and offer the best nourishment possible to students (and staff).

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public schools and is designed to provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost or no-cost lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, signed into law by then-President Harry Truman in 1946.

Children may be determined eligible for free meals through participation in certain Federal Assistance Programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or based on their status as a homeless, migrant, runaway or foster child. But all families are encouraged to apply.

According to Chartwells District Manager Tiffany Reed, there are a number of benefits to receiving the free and reduced meal program.

“You know your kids are getting a healthy and awesome school breakfast and lunch,” Reed says. “Your family can also qualify for free ACT testing, free summer school and a reduced cost for at-home internet. For every student who qualifies for free or reduced lunches, the district gets federal dollars to spend on services like interventionists, dyslexia services, social workers and more.”

Reed also notes how important it is for students to have healthy options available at school.

“The dollar doesn’t quite go as far as it used to,” she says. “Families have a lot of stress, why should they also have to worry about figuring out what to pack for their kid’s lunchbox or how to afford a school lunch? A student's opportunity to get a healthy school meal should not be something you worry about. We are here to help you, and we want to help you make sure your student is fueled to learn.”

Families can apply at any time for free and reduced meals, and the district strongly encourages families to do so. Click here to learn more about free and reduced lunches, and learn more about the PCSSD Student Nutrition Services here