LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Studies have shown that students who have access to nutritious foods perform better in school.

The State of Nevada has announced that they have invested $75 million for free school meals in Nevada school that operate the National School Lunch Program for the coming academic year. American Rescue Plan Act funds will be used to continue pandemic recovery and help make sure students have food to eat by providing free school breakfast and lunch.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the only school meals that were provided for free or at a reduced rate in Nevada were to students whose families met eligibility requirements. Governor Steve Sisolak committed to free school meals for students during his State of the State speech earlier this year.

“Between distance learning over the last two years and economic impacts affecting families, it is important to support parents and students any way we can,” said Governor Sisolak. “We know students can’t learn on an empty stomach. This is one way we can help make sure students have access to healthy meals at school, and provide some relief to parents.”

It will be important for parents to fill out the Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility form to ensure that their children are able to receive the free meals.

“No child should worry when their next meal will come,” said Nevada Department of Agriculture Director Jennifer Ott. “Children have depended on meals in schools for the last two years, and it is crucial to give families more time to recover from the pandemic and the current economic conditions.”

Free school meals was a part of a series of food security programs initiated by the Nevada Department of Agriculture. To learn more about food security programs and find other resources, visit their website.