ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, April 5, 2007) - The Department of Defense Education Activity is encouraging families of children attending its overseas schools to reapply for free and reduced price school lunches.

Earlier this year, DoDEA requested an increase in the reimbursement rate USDA provides for school lunches. The USDA approved the request and also authorized the use of the Alaska Income Eligibility Guidelines in qualifying families to participate in the program. More families may qualify under the new guidelines as a result.

This change applies to families of children attending DoDEA schools overseas in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Azores, Turkey, Korea, Japan and Okinawa. It does not include families of children attending DoDEA schools in Puerto Rico or Guam, who fall under their State Department of Education programs.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Navy Exchange Service Command and Marine Corps Community Services are designated School Food Authorities for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools overseas. AAFES is the largest SFA, providing U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved school meals to students on Army and Air Force Installations in nine countries throughout Europe and the Pacific.

The school lunch program is designed to meet federal requirements for nutritionally balanced meals and to offer free or reduced-price meals to eligible children.

Installation commanders operate and maintain the program by providing instructions on how to apply for the program, determining eligibility of applicants, and maintaining and updating a list of students enrolled in the program.