Starting this fall, students in the Palo Alto Unified School District will benefit from a statewide program that guarantees two daily free meals regardless of financial status.
CA Meals for All will commence in the 2022-23 school year, making California the first state to implement a universal meals program. The district began offering free meals without requiring registration in March 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new program permanently replaces the previously temporary structure.
In line with the federal eligibility scale, households with four family members making a total of less than $51,338 a year are eligible for reduced meal benefits and those that make less than $36,075 are eligible for free meal benefits.
While registration will not be required to receive meals, a press release from the district states that students with this designated status become eligible for a variety of other "learning and enrichment opportunities," such as discounts or waivers for college application and Advancement Placement test fees.
Furthermore, free and reduced lunch applications help inform the funding that the district receives annually from the state.
Students and their families do not need to be United States citizens to qualify.
Applications are available online at paloalto.familyportal.cloud or can be completed and returned to Food Services at the district office, 25 Churchill Ave. Questions can be directed to Theresa Poon in Student Nutrition Services, at 650-329-3806.
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