How are School Lunches More than a Meal?

You may be surprised to know that our school lunches do more than feed our students. In addition to being delicious, our lunches provide two major benefits.

Increased school fundingImproved school performance

How does your School Lunch Program application help your school?

  • Schools who qualify can expand their budgets to better provide for students.

  • DUSD may receive more funding per student — funding that goes back into our schools.

  • Schools may receive funding for afterschool programs.

  • Middle schools with high application counts can assist their feeder elementary schools in qualifying for benefits.

More than just a school lunch!

Public school districts like Downey Unified receive funding from the state and the federal government to better support their low-income students. This funding is partially affected by how many students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. Each student who qualifies provides the district with extra funding that is vital for school programs. Unfortunately, many students who would qualify do not apply each year. This leaves DUSD and its students without needed funding and those students miss out on nutritional meals. Every qualifying student counts and has a significant impact on yearly funds.  Also, students who qualify for free lunch can receive other benefits like:

Internet Access

Discount on home internet costs


Qualify for food benefits including Food Stamps



Discount on fees for academic tests

College App Fees

Discount on fees associated with applying to college

Bus Passes

Discount on bus passes

How are school meals beneficial to your child?

Provides a balanced meal

Students who participate in the school meal programs consume more milk, fruits, and vegetables, and have a better intake of nutrients than nonparticipants.

Better focus and retention

74% of kids say school meals help them focus and behave in the classroom.

Improved performance on tests

71% of kids say school meals help their grades.

Fewer disciplinary problems

48% of teachers noticed better disciplinary behavior when students have breakfast.

When kids come to school hungry, they visit the school nurse more often due to stomachaches and headaches, and they have a harder time paying attention and retaining information in class. Students who struggle with hunger are also likely to be sick more often and slower to recover from illness, leading to missed school days. Attendance is important. Research shows that students who attend class more regularly are 20% more likely to graduate from high school. Most importantly, proper nutrition during childhood can positively affect a child’s social behaviors and development. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain from applying for free or reduced-price school lunches for your child. Let’s get their school year off to the right start. 

Eating a healthy breakfast in the morning is linked to improved concentration, increased energy, and better test scores. It is important to us that each Downey Unified student has the opportunity to start the school day on the right foot. 

We are proud to offer free breakfast & lunch for all Downey Unified students.