School lunch remains an option for some Dysart Unified School District students during virtual learning.
The National School Lunch and the School Breakfast Programs will offer breakfast for $1.25 and lunch for $2.60 for elementary students and $2.85 for high school students. Children may qualify for free or reduced-price meals, which are $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch. Drive-thru grab-and-go meals service takes place during scheduled lunch periods.
El Mirage Elementary School, 13500 N. El Mirage Road, offers free healthy meals every school day to the students due to the implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision 2 Base Year for the school year 2020-21.
Students will be able to participate in these meal programs without having to pay a free, but households must fill out the free or reduced meal application to re-qualify for Provision 2 for the next five years.
Currently 806 students are enrolled at El Mirage Elementary and are eligible to take advantage of the national program.
“Federal nutrition programs like the National School Lunch Program address child hunger, promote nutrition, and provide healthy meals for our students for free or at a reduced price,” DUSD Director of Communications Renee Ryon said. “Proper nutrition is critical and prepares our students for learning. Regardless of the learning model, a full belly supports a hungry mind.”
Additionally, Ms. Ryon explained the reason this program is only available to students at El Mirage Elementary is because it’s the only campus where at least 75% of students qualify for free or reduced meals, which is a requirement of the Provision 2 program.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service website, the program was signed into law in 1946 as a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions, providing a low-cost or no-cost lunch to children each day. As of 2016, more than 30.4 million children have benefited from this program.
The qualifications for children to receive free or reduced price meals include belonging to a household whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines, belonging to a household that receives public assistance or if the child is homeless, migrant, runaway, foster or participates in a head start or even start preschool program.
Household size and income criteria are used to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price benefits if the household does not receive assistance or the children are not in the other categories mentioned above.
Applications are being distributed to all households and are also available at schoolcafe.com or the school’s front office. The district office is at 15802 N. Parkview Place.
The district said families can apply for benefits at any time. If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school.
It also states that under the “provisions of the free or reduced-price policy, the Nutrition Liaison will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents and guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis.
Parents wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to Nutrition Services, 13825 W. Desert Cove Road, Surprise, AZ 85379.
Call Nutrition Services at 623-876-7075, or e-mail Joanna.email@example.com
Editor’s Note: Jennifer Jimenez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @SCW_Independent.