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Free and Reduced Priced Meals

All sponsors of the National School Lunch Program must offer Free and Reduced priced meals to students.  Sponsors are reimbursed by the Federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture for school meals served to students receiving meal benefits. 

Eligibility for free meals allows a student to receive one (1) free breakfast and one (1) free lunch per school day.  Eligibility for reduced priced meals allows a student to receive one (1) free breakfast per day and one (1) lunch per day at the cost of $0.40. 

Student accounts are accessed by a classroom roster or by the student enter their student ID number at the cash register.  The computerized cash register system charges the correct priced meal based on the student’s eligibility status, and there is no difference in the transaction between a student receiving Free or Reduced Priced Meals and a student paying the full price for meals.  This seamless non-descript system prevents the identification of a student receiving meal benefits.   

The Numbers:  Click HERE for 1 page PDF that reflects the most recent WCPS Free and Reduced Price Meal (FARM) statistics.

Online Free and Reduced Application

Frequently Asked Questions:

1.   Do I need to fill out an application for each child?

No. Complete one Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefit Application for all children in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete. Fill out all required information.  Return the completed application to:

Food and Nutrition Services
820 Commonwealth Avenue
Hagerstown, MD 21740.

2.   Who can get free meals?

All children in households receiving benefits from the Food Supplement Program (FSP) or Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA), and most foster children can get free meals regardless of your income. Also, your children can get free meals if your household’s gross income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Guidelines.

3.   Who can get reduced-price meals?

Your children can get low cost meals if your household income is within the reduced-price limits on the Federal Income Guidelines.

Income Guidelines for School Year 2012-2013

Household Size

Year

Month

Week

1

$20,665

$1,723

$398

2

27,991

2,333

539

3

35,317

2,944

680

4

42,643

3,554

821

5

49,969

4,165

961

6

57,295

4,775

1,102

7

64,621

5,386

1,243

8

71,947

5,996

1,384

For each add'l member add:

$7,326

$611

$141

4.   Can homeless, runaway, and migrant children get free meals?

Yes. If you have not been told that your child(ren) will get free school meals this year, complete the application. You may also call the Food and Nutrition Services office @ (301) 766-2890 to ask about benefits.

5.   Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children are approved for free meals? 

No, you do not need to complete an application.  Call (301) 766-2890 if you have questions.

6.   My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out another one?

      Yes. Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a           new application unless you were notified that your child is eligible for the new school year.

7.   I get WIC. Can my child(ren) get free meals?

Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please fill out an application.

8.   Will the information I give be checked?

Yes, your information may be checked.

9.   If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later?

Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year.

10. What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application?

You should talk to school officials. You may also ask for a hearing by calling or writing to:

Mr. Boyd Michael
Deputy Superintendent
10435 Downsville Pike
Hagerstown, MD 21740

(301) 766-282819

11. May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen? Yes. You or your child(ren) do not have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or reduced price meals.

12. Who should I include as members of my household?

Your household includes all those living as one economic unit, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends).

13. What if my income is not always the same?

List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. 

14. We are in the military. do we include our housing allowance as income?

If you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.

15. My spouse is deployed to a combat zone. is her combat pay counted as income?

No, if the combat pay is received in addition to his/her basic pay because of his/her deployment, and it wasn’t received before he/she was deployed, combat pay is not counted as income. 

16. My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?

For information and referral for the Food Supplement Program, Temporary Cash Assistance, and medical programs call 1-800-332-6347.