The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently issued an extension of a previous order that extends free summer meals to all students K-12. Since EGRPS does not operate a summer meal program, the previous order did not directly apply to our school district. The federal extension, and associated changes to that program, however, will result in school lunches being available to all EGRPS students at no cost. The USDA indicated this program will expire when funds are exhausted, or no later than December 21, 2020. This federal program is not a needs-based program; rather, it is intended to ensure every child has access to important nutrition on a daily basis. This means starting on Monday, September 14 every EGRPS family can access a free lunch at school. This change will not affect our previously described lunch procedures such as:
- All orders must be submitted using this online form.
- Parents may order just one day at a time through 7:00 a.m., for several days, or for the full period the online form covers. Parents may order at the frequency that meets the needs of their families.
- Families may continue to order just milk. “Milk only” orders, however, are not covered by the federal order and will continue to cost $0.50 each.
This change is not retroactive and begins with lunches served on September 14, 2020, going forward. It is still critically important that any family who believes they may qualify for free or reduced lunch submit their annual application online to ensure they and the district are properly positioned for when this program expires. Below are some additional FAQs anticipated with this change.
Thank you for your support as we strive to provide the best possible options to our families.
Heidi S. Kattula, Ed.D.
FAQs - Federal Free Lunch Program
Q: Do I need to do anything for my child to receive a free lunch?
A: Yes; simply place a lunch order through the online form. Besides ordering, nothing else is needed for a child to be provided a free lunch at school.
Q: What if I do not participate in this free lunch program and I want to pay for my child’s lunch.
A: This program is mandatory for schools and the district will be reimbursed for the cost of the lunch by the federal government. The option for families to pay is not available.
Q: Why are there still charges for milk?
A: The federal government only provides reimbursement for complete meals that meet all nutrition standards.
Q: How can I deposit money for milk only orders?
A: The district will continue to utilize student lunch accounts and collect parent payments using the MyPaymentsPlus platform or through paper checks sent into school.
Q: Does this change the lunch procedures at the elementary school?
A: No; lunch times and procedures will remain as previously published.
Q: Does this change the lunch procedures at the middle school or high school?
A: No; the lunch pick-up locations and procedures are unchanged.