School Meals in Illinois

School meals in Illinois are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

The Illinois school meals programs make nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals available to school children each school day in the year.

School meals nutritional standards are based on the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Government and teachers have reported that students perform better in class if they get regular meals.

Children getting school breakfast also had significantly reduced absence and tardiness rates, according to a Tufts University study.

Illinois School Lunch Program | Illinois School Breakfast Program


Special Milk Program in Illinois

Illinois Special Milk Program offers milk to children in schools, childcare institutions, and eligible camps. Any child in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program can get milk.

Schools may elect to offer free milk to low-income children. In order to qualify for Illinois Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of Illinois.

Illinois Special Milk Program


Summer Food Program in Illinois

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another Illinois food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income Illinois children get nutritious meals in the summertime.

The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program that provides grants to local sponsors who want to combine a food service with a summer activity program.

The funding provided by SFSP ensures that Illinois children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.

Illinois Summer Food Service Program


Senior Nutrition in Illinois

Illinois Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides low-income seniors with special checks to buy fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs from authorized farmers’ markets. To qualify for Illinois senior nutrition special checks, the applicants must be 60 years of age or older and their gross household income must not exceed certain limits.

An application must be completed for each person in the household that wants to apply for the SFMNP benefits.  Once approved, each beneficiary must reapply every year to continue participating in the Illinois Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.

Illinois Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA