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USDA Funds Free Meals from Nutrition Services

Free meals for all students

This semester, students and families have the opportunity to check out all the meal offerings that LPS Nutrition Services has to offer--for free! Packing meals or cooking at home takes time and money; this semester, families can let Nutrition Services do the work, freeing up time and money for families at home. While this is a huge benefit to families, students’ participation in the district’s meal program also helps Nutrition Services remain fiscally solvent. The district is reimbursed for meals provided, thus allowing dollars to remain in the district’s general fund rather than using them to cover nutrition services costs.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing funding for Nutrition Services to provide free-of-charge meals to students through December 2020, or until funding runs out. It is important to note that families should still apply for free and reduced-price meals (see the Nutrition Services webpage for application details) because students’ eligibility helps schools in various ways, like securing federal funding for Title I programming and schools’ eligibility for certain types of grants. 

What free meals means for students and schools

  • All students eat for free for both breakfast and lunch, regardless of their free and reduced-price meal eligibility. Please note that breakfast service varies by school location.

  • The full meal available for breakfast consists of an entree, fruit/fruit juice, and milk. Students must take an entree and fruit/fruit juice in order for the meal to be counted.

  • The full meal available for lunch consists of an entree, fruit, vegetable, and milk. Students must take an entree and fruit OR vegetable in order for the meal to be counted.

  • Students can still purchase a la carte items.

  • For TOPS and hybrid students, families/students will not be required to provide their student ID when picking up multiple meals.

  • Parents can request refunds for money already paid to their account, or this money can stay in the account for snack purchases, or for use to pay for meals when the USDA’s funding runs out.

  • Parents may want to turn off autopay on their Titan app. This can be done at family.titank12.com.

It is unclear at this time whether the funding will be applied to purchases already made on student accounts for meals, but Jessica Gould, director of nutrition services, will communicate with families when more is known. Families will also be notified if USDA funding runs out prior to the end of December 2020, and meals must once again be purchased by families.

Additionally, this could mean an increase in participation in school meals. The district’s nutrition services team will be working closely with managers at each school site to ensure there is enough food for all students. All schools will still actively be practicing all COVID-19 safety measures.