Military Students Overseas to Receive Free School Meals

DALLAS – Beginning Nov. 2, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service in conjunction with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), will be serving free meals to all students enrolled at DoDEA schools overseas that are operated by one of the USDA approved School Food Authorities (Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Navy Exchange or Marine Corps Community Services).

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently granted a waiver to the DoD School Food Authorities to provide free school meals through June 30, 2021,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s senior enlisted advisor. “This is great news for our military families, especially during these challenging times.”

Families can elect to participate and receive free reimbursable (subsidized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) meals at participating schools and grab-and-go locations beginning Nov. 2. Participants are required to have a DoDEA student ID number and student meal account through the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Navy Exchange or Marine Corps Community Services. No action is required to receive free school meals for students with an established school meal program account. Parents of those without an account are encouraged to create one in advance for their children at their local Exchange customer service.

“I was thrilled and excited to hear about the free lunches for my daughters,” said Master Sgt. Brando O. Perez, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36’s senior enlisted leader for operation management division at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa. “This will not only help us financially, but will help so many families who are stationed in Okinawa during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

School meals purchased prior to implementation of the waiver (August through Oct. 31), will be credited to the appropriate student meal program account. The credit does not apply to adult meals, second meals, a la carte items or “lunch plus” purchases.

“This is great news for families who may be experiencing financial hardships during this pandemic,” said Air Force Tech Sgt. Robert Harris, a fleet manager with the 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron at Ramstein AB. “I believe it’s something that will help give peace of mind.”

For additional information, including FAQs, parents can visit the school meal program site at

Since 1955, the Exchange has been the school feeding authority for the Army and Air Force. The school meal program is operated for military students overseas, serving more than 2.6 million meals a year. Nutritional standards for DoDEA student meals are set by the Exchange’s registered dietitian in accordance with U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.

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Military children at schools overseas can now enjoy reimbursable meals free of charge after the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently granted a waiver to provide them through June. Read more:×8

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 61st-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.2 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at


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