Schools send free meal applications home at the beginning of each school year. However, you may apply at any time throughout the school year by submitting a household application directly to your school. Your school will provide you with an application upon request. When asking for an application, keep in mind that some schools offer free meals to all students. To see if you qualify, check out the income eligibility guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
You may qualify for SNAP, which provides money on a debit card that you can use to purchase food.
There are a few ways to apply for SNAP:
- Apply for/renew your SNAP benefits online through COMPASS. Through COMPASS, you can apply for other services to help you make ends meet.
- Find a local organization to help you apply for SNAP over the phone or in person. (Consider one of the food pantries in the map on this site).
- File an application in person at a County Assistance Office. Find the office closest to you.
Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)
WIC serves the following Pennsylvania residents:
- Pregnant women
- Breastfeeding women, for up to one year postpartum
- Women up to six months postpartum, who are not breastfeeding
- Infants and children under 5 years old, including foster children
Start your WIC application and learn about what you will need to bring to your first appointment.
If you receive WIC you are also eligible to receive vouchers that can be redeemed at approved Pennsylvania farmers' markets. You can receive this benefit during a quarterly WIC visit (May- September). Find a nearby farmers' market that accepts Farmers' Market Nutrition Program vouchers.
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free meals to children from low-income families during the summer months when school is out. To find a meal site near you during the summer months:
- Call 211 (United Way toll-free helpline)
- Text "MealPA" to 877877