May I fax my application to the School Food Service office?
No, only original application will be accepted.
Where can I submit my household’s application?
You may complete a Free and Reduced Price Meal Application on- line at www.palmbeachschools.org/sfs
May I put my child’s nickname on the application?
No. Please write your child’s full name that was used to register him/her in school.
My children attend different Palm Beach County schools. How many applications do I need to complete?
One application listing all students living in your household is all that is required, no matter what schools they attend. Make sure that all students are listed in Section 3 of the application.
I have a foster child. How do I apply for free or reduced meals for him/her?
If a State or local foster agency does not initially provide documentation for a categorically eligible foster child, an application identifying the child as a foster child must be completed. Additionally, a household may now include foster children on their application.
Do I need to provide income information for my school-aged children?
Either income or an “X” placed in the No Income box must be completed for each student listed on the application.
Do I need to include my Social Security Number on the application?
Yes. It is required on all applications that list income; however, only the LAST FOUR digits of the social security number are required. If you are receiving Food Stamps, TANF, or are applying for a foster child, a Social Security Number is not required. If the adult completing the application does not have a Social Security Number, check the box in Section 9 of the application.
I currently receive Food Stamps. What do I need in order to apply for free meals for my child?
If you are currently receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), you will need the 10-digit case number required to complete section one of the Application for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (normally found on the Letter of Eligibility from the SNAP or TANF office). It is not your EBT card number.
What are the “frequency bubbles”?
New to the income section of the application, there are five bubbles (W, 2W, M, and 2M, A). "W" means "Weekly", "2W" means "Every two weeks", "M" means "Monthly", "2M" means "Twice a month" and "A" means "Annual", but you must be self-employed or a seasonal employee in order to use this option. However, if annual, you must choose seasonal or self employed on the Free and Reduced Meal Application. Please be sure to fill in the correct bubble next to each household member’s income, or your child's benefits may be delayed while we try to reach you. We will not assume that your income is monthly if the bubbles are left blank. If a household member listed does not receive any income place an “X” in the No Income box.
What does “Additional Benefits” mean on the Free and Reduced Price Meal Application?
If you DO want this application to be used in determining your child(ren)s eligibility in other programs, to include low cost health insurance which is available to children through Medicaid or the State Children's Heath Insurance program (SCHIP) place an X in the box provided in section 6 of the Free and Reduced Meal Application.
How will I be notified when my application has been approved or denied?
Once you apply on- line, please allow ten working days for the application to be processed. You will receive a letter of eligibility either in the mail or it will be sent home with your child.
I haven’t received notification on whether or not my application was approved. What can I do?
If you do not receive notification of eligibility, it may be due to an incomplete application. If you applied online and you retained the Confirmation # you received after completing the application, click here to check the status of the application. You may also call the School Food Service office at 1-888-383-2025 for assistance.
My household was approved for reduced price meals. What price do I have to pay for meals?
Reduced price breakfast is $.30 daily, and reduced price lunch is $.40 daily, per child.
Who do I contact if I need help completing this application?
You may call the School Food Service office at 1-888-383-2025 for assistance in completing the Family Free and Reduced Price Meal Application.
Are there any other languages available?
Applications are available at all schools in English, Spanish and Creole.
Is there a time limit on when I can apply for free or reduced meals?
No. You may apply for free or reduced price meal benefits at any time during the school year.
How are the menus planned?
Menus are carefully planned to provide students an opportunity to select from a variety of nutritious foods that they will both enjoy eating and contribute to good health. Standardized recipes are utilized to ensure that all students in every school receive appetizing, high quality foods prepared in a safe and sanitary environment.
Are school meals healthy?
Yes! Meals are planned to meet the Dietary Guidelines for key nutrients and calories for growing children. Our school kitchens utilize oven-baked or steamed cooking methods; foods are never deep fried. In addition, a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milks are available every day in every school across the district.
How does the department assure safe meals are served to students?
Before working in any of our cafeterias, potential employees are trained in proper sanitation techniques and provided continuous education throughout the year. The food service department adheres to a food safety program based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. HACCP is a systematic approach designed to reduce the risk of foodborne hazards by focusing on each step of the food preparation process from receiving to storage. In addition, all cafeteria managers are required to become ServSafe. This certification is both nationally recognized and accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Restaurant Association.
Can schools make-up their own menu?
No! The School District of Palm Beach County participates in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program. Breakfast and lunch are designed to fall within a specific caloric range, to offer no more than 10% of saturated fat, no Trans fat, more whole grains, and more fruits and vegetables. In addition, the design of the new meal pattern encourages students to select foods that are higher in certain vitamins and minerals (A, C, Calcium, Iron, etc).
Can my child purchase a la carte snacks?
The Food & Nutrition Services Department continues to monitor and evaluate a la carte items offered in schools with the ultimate goal of aligning a la carte items with the guidelines previously established by the Alliance for Healthier Generation www.healthiergeneration.org. Each year the evaluation process becomes stricter as the department scrutinizes the nutritional integrity of a la carte items and products are eliminated and/or replaced only if the new standards are met. Each year, guides are created for elementary, middle and high school to assist Food Service Managers in purchasing only those items that have been approved for their school level. A la carte items will vary from school to school so please contact your Food Service Manager to inquire about the selection offered at the school.
What are commodities, and how are they utilized in school meals?
Commodities are of domestic origin and directly support the American agricultural producers. These food items are allocated by the USDA based on the student participation in the National School Lunch Program. Commodities must meet high quality specifications as do all of our food purchases. These foods allow the department to keep food costs down; therefore keeping meal prices reasonable. Our district chooses to allocate commodity dollars towards nutritionally enhanced protein items such as turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, and cheese. We use recognizable companies such as Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Land O’Lakes, Jennie-O, Good Harbor, and Red Gold to manufacture our items.
How is the food service department funded?
The main revenue sources for a school food service budget come from federal reimbursements, money collected from paying students, and a la carte sales. Our food service program does not receive money from the District’s general operating budget; therefore our revenue streams must s-t-r-e-t-c-h to cover ever escalating food costs, repairs, replacement and purchase of new equipment, indirect cost payments to the district, salary and benefits, supplies, and training of staff.
Why purchase a meal at school?
- Nutritious meals are designed to meet specific nutrition standards
- Food is safe and sanitary
- Cost is less than bringing an equally nutritious meal from home
- Several choices are available daily including vegetarian options
Why is pricing different for an adult purchasing a meal?
The food service program does not receive reimbursement for adult meals. As a result, an adult is charged a low fee for their meal which reflects the actual cost of the food items.
My child has a special dietary need, where can I get information about the foods that she can purchase?
Please visit the “Special Dietary Needs” web page or contact the School Food Service Department for more information.