Community Notebook: Free, reduced-price meal applications are now open for Palo Alto Unified students

District says families can apply if they don't receive qualification letter

The Palo Alto Unified School District is accepting free or reduced-price meals applications for the 2019-2020 school year for students whose household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.

According to a press release sent out by district Student Nutrition Services Clerk Theresa Poon, families do not need to submit an application if they receive a notification letter qualifying them for free meals. Families would receive this letter when any member of their household receives benefits from CalFresh, CalWorks or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).

Free meals are also available for children who are found to be homeless, a migrant, a runaway, from foster families or enrolled in their school's Head Start program.

Foster children may also be included as a household member if their foster family chooses to also apply for non-foster children on the same application.

Families can submit an application at any time during the school year should they see their income go down, household size go up or a member of their household enroll in CalFresh, CalWorks or FDPIR.

Households that receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children benefits, may also be eligible for free or reduced-price meals by filling out an application.

Applications are effective this Monday, July 1 through June 30, 2020.

Founded by the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, the School Breakfast Program, like the National School Lunch Program, provides nutritious meals to students at participating schools, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website.

Households looking to apply for meal benefits, must fill out one application for all children in their household and submit it to the district's nutrition office at 25 Churchill Ave. Families can also apply online at


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Christian Trujano is a former intern for the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online.

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2 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 29, 2019 at 11:58 am

Just a question. The article states that children who are homeless, etc. get free meals in PAUSD. When my kids were registered for school I had to provide 3 proofs of residency in Palo Alto, a mortgage/lease/property tax bill, a drivers license, utilities bills, etc. How can a homeless person get their kids into PAUSD?

I'm not saying that these kids do not deserve free meals or that they do not deserve to go to school. I just want to know if the rules are different now.

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