What You Need to know
The special milk program is an initiative by the federal government. The program tends to provide milk to children in schools that do not participate in any federal meal programs.

The SMP provides reimbursements for milk served in childcare institutions and schools that don’t participate in federal meal programs. Schools and institutions that participate in the program receive reimbursement for every half pint of milk they serve. The program is operated on a non-profit basis as it is a federal requirement. The reimbursement is used to give children access to milk at a much lesser price or free of cost. Around 191,000 half-pints of milk are served daily to children. This amounts up to $8 million dollars annually.

The Eligibility Criteria

Schools or childcare institutions that are operating on a nonprofit basis, temporary shelters and summer camps are also eligible, can participate in the special milk program. The participants of the special milk program should not participate in either NLSP or the SBP program. However, schools that do participate in either the federal meal program can participate in SMP on the condition that they provide milk to half-day kindergarten and full-day kindergarten programs. Children in kindergarten do not have access to either of the federal meal program.

Who Administers The Program?

The program is administered by the US department of agriculture food and nutrition services (FNS). For this program, one must be a resident of the state of Pennsylvania.

A particular income guideline is issued by the department of agriculture which determines the eligibility for free or reduced-price milk. For eligibility, annual household income before taxes for a single person should be $22,459, for every additional person in the household add $7,992 per person.

How To Apply?

It is highly encouraged to apply for these federal programs if you are earning at par or below these specified income levels.  After applying, the school or the local educational center in which your child is enrolled will determine your eligibility for the program.

If you are the recipient of SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) benefits. You automatically qualify for the federal free meal programs. Moreover, if you are unemployed and are eligible for the unemployment compensation, your child might also be eligible for free/reduced-price meals at school.

There are countless benefits of milk. Milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which are very vital to your child’s body. Milk aids in the development of healthy, strong bones and helps develop stamina. Phosphorus and calcium are found in milk and are considered extremely crucial to the child’s tooth development. According to a study, children who drink milk on a regular basis, have a proper diet are most likely to maintain proper blood pressure. Milk is considered as the building block of the body and is very important for child growth

Conclusion

Many families are unaware of these programs and the services offered by the federal government. It is highly recommended you remain in contact with your local community for more information and guidance in these regards.

In order to apply for the SMP (special milk program), you have to contact your state agency.

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