Food Services

Apply now for Free & Reduced Lunch 

Five great reasons to apply for the Free & Reduced Lunch Program

  • Nutritious, delicious and convenient meals for your family
  • Your completed application will also be used to issue benefits for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (S-EBT) program (pre-loaded card provides $120/per child for groceries)
  • More funding for your school
  • Help with school supplies, sports fees and other school costs
  • It’s confidential!

If you need assistance paying for your child’s meal costs, the Free & Reduced Lunch program is available to help. In addition to meals, participation in the Free & Reduced Lunch program helps the district identify students who may benefit from additional assistance with school expenses including:

  • School supplies and clothing
  • Sports and activities fees
  • Instrument rentals
  • Field trip fees
  • Fees for academic tests such as the Advanced Placement exam

Families across a wide range of income levels may qualify based on a variety of factors, including the number of people in your household. If you believe your family may qualify, please apply now, even if you don’t plan to take advantage of this benefit.

Your application is confidential and will not be seen by your school principal or other school staff.

By applying for Free & Reduced Lunch, you also help your entire school. This is because much of our district’s federal funding is based on how many student households qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch. Approved applications help generate additional funding for important student services such as staffing to provide extra academic support for all students, math and literacy curriculum, classroom and academic supplies, and assistance with covering extra-curricular activity costs for students in need.

The Free & Reduced Lunch application will also be used to issue benefits for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer ( S-EBT ) program. S-EBT provides $120 per eligible child in the form of preloaded cards that your family can use to purchase groceries. Children must be directly certified or income-eligible to qualify. The program is intended to help fulfill hunger gaps when children are not in school. Please contact the hot-line at (406) 444-0044 or email if you wish to opt out of the S-EBT program benefits.

You do not need to apply for Free & Reduced Lunch if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Certified to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps
  • Certified to participate in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF)
  • Certified to participate in Medicaid (if the household’s current income falls within the National School Lunch Programs’ annual income guidelines).
  • Foster child/family

You may qualify for help and support under other federal funding. To find out how to apply for SNAP or other assistance benefits, please call the Montana Public Assistance Helpline at 1-888-706-1535, apply online at, or contact a local assistance office.


Please contact Sharon Jensen, Helena Public Schools Business Office, (406) 324- 2042,


Free & Reduced Lunch Program

Helena Public Schools Breakfast & Lunch Program
The Helena Public Schools Breakfast and Lunch Program has always prided itself on providing nutritious and healthy meals for all Helena students. Staff members are trained to recognize and encourage children to eat a complete well-balanced meal. While there will always be a delicate balance between what children want to eat and what the lunch program serves, we believe we have and will continue to meet this balance by listening to our customers, guiding and training our staff and implementing all of the tools at our disposal.

National School Lunch Program
The Helena Public Schools Breakfast and Lunch Program participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). As participants, we must serve lunches consistent with the applicable recommendations of the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (the Food Pyramid), including a variety of foods; a diet with plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits; a diet moderate in sugars and salt; and a diet with 30% or less of calories from fat and less than 10% of calories from saturated fat. Additionally, lunches must provide, on average over each school week, at least 1/3 of the daily Recommended Dietary Allowances for protein, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. School lunches must meet Federal nutrition requirements, but decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food service personnel.