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Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals at school

(February 6, 2017) – Did you know your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals at school through the National School Lunch Program, which is a federally assisted meal program that provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day? The Union Springs Central School District sent direct certification letters out in the beginning of the 2016-17 school year to households with children who qualify for free or reduced price meals. If you received this letter, your children are qualified. If you have not yet applied for your child to receive free or reduced price meals at school, or your child’s eligibility has changed, it is not too late. You may apply at any time during the school year.
Free or reduced price meals are available to eligible children, including:
  • Children living in households with a gross income that falls within the free or reduced price limits of the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines
  • Children living in households that receive benefits from SNAP, FDPIR, or TANF
  • Children living in households with a family member on Medicaid
  • Children in households participating in WIC (may be eligible)
  • Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court
  • Homeless, runaway, and migrant children
Once your children are approved for free or reduced price meals status, they are approved for one free breakfast and one free lunch each day for the remainder of the school year, even if your income increases.
Reduced price meals are $0.25 for breakfast and $0.25 for lunch. The amount each household can save adds up over time. For example:
Breakfast prepared at home:
Cereal w/ Milk = $0.35 to $0.70/day x 5 days = $3.50 to $7.00 per child/week
Reduced price breakfast at school:
At least 3 out of 5 items to make a meal* = $0.25/day x 5 days = $1.25 per child/week
Savings = $2.25 to $5.75 per child/week
Lunch from home:
PB&J Sandwich, Juice Box & Chips = $1.14/day x 5 days = $5.70 per child/week
Reduced price lunch at school:
At least 3 out of 5 items to make a meal* = $0.25/day x 5 days = $1.25 per child/week
Savings = $4.45 per child/week
*At both breakfast and lunch, children must take at least 3 out of 5 menu items to make a meal, and at least 1 item needs to be a fruit or vegetable. Anything outside of these guidelines will be charged a la carte pricing. Children are able to take breakfast meals to their classrooms to finish.

It is important to note that children’s eligibility for free or reduced price meals can change during the school year. Even if they did not qualify at the beginning of the school year, it is possible that they may qualify now. For example, should you become unemployed, have a decrease in household income, or an increase in family size during the school year, your child may become eligible, and you may request and complete an application at that time.
Please also keep in mind that a child’s address will dictate the household (composition) status, and it is possible for one child living with one parent to be eligible for free or reduced price meals while a sibling living with the other parent has to pay for meals.
To apply for free or reduced price meals for your children, you may submit an Eligibility Letter for Free Meals received from the NYS Education Department, OR carefully complete one application for your household and return it to your child’s school. You only need to submit one application for all children in your household, but applications need to be submitted every school year, regardless of approval in prior years. If you would like to avoid incurring any meal costs, it is important to submit applications no later than the end of September of each school year.
If you have any questions regarding eligibility for free or reduced price meals, or if you would like help filling out an application, please contact Food Services Manager, Kathy Smith at (315) 889-4120 or kmsmith@unionspringscsd.org.




Jarett S. Powers, Superintendent
239 Cayuga Street
Union Springs, New York 13160
Phone: 315 889-4101
Fax: 315 889-4108


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