Of the 30 million low-income students who are eligible for free lunches, only 15% are currently getting those meals.
The shutdown has school districts worried about their ability to feed students.
Schools in Texas are trying a new approach by offering free meals to all students.
About half of public school children today qualify for free and reduced-price meals at school. A new federal option allows high-poverty schools to feed all students at no charge.
Roughly half of public school children today qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and that number drives billions of dollars in other benefits for schools. But critics say the program is prone to error and fraud.
In the fall of 2011, fourth-grader Zachary Maxwell set out to show his parents and the world his less-than-appetizing lunch tray reality.