The People's Guide

35th Edition 2013-2014

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39 The People's Guide 2013-2014 SCHOOL BREAKFAST AND LUNCH SCHOOL BREAKFAST AND LUNCH All low-income students are eligible for for free or very low-cost school meals, regardless of immigration status. Children who eat breakfast and lunch at school learn better and are usually sick less than other children. All public schools and some private and parochial schools offer subsidized breakfast and lunch programs. Some schools offer free meals to all stu- dents free, regardless of family income. Many schools offer breakfasts in the class- room, at recess, or on the bus. Your child qualifies for free or reduced- price meals if your gross family income per month (income before taxes or deductions) is below these levels: Family Reduced Size Free Meals Price Meals 1 $1,245 $1,772 2 $1,681 $2,392 3 $2,116 $3,011 4 $2,552 $3,631 5 $2,987 $4,251 6 $3,423 $4,871 7 $3,858 $5,490 8 $4,294 $6,110 (Eligibility Scales for 2013-2014) HOW TO APPLY If you receive CalWORKs, CalFresh/food stamps, or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the only informa- tion you need is your County case number, and all children in your household auto- matically qualify for free meals. Addition- ally, all children certified as homeless or in foster care qualify for free meals. You should receive an application for the meal program in your own language at the beginning of the school year or whenever your child transfers. You can also ask for one at any time from the school office, because if your income goes down during the year, your child may become eligible. You will have to list the total income of your household, the names of household members, and the Social Security number of the adult signing the application. If you do not have a SSN, just write "none". You are not required to apply for a number or give a reason for not having one. Sometimes the school asks for proof of your income. All information gathered is confidential and cannot be shared with other government agencies. If the information you give on the appli- cation shows that you qualify, your child can begin receiving free or reduced-price meals immediately. Reduced-prices are set by the school district, but the law states that breakfast cannot cost more than 30 cents and lunch not more than 40 cents for reduced price meals. The district can charge whatever it wants for full price meals. Recent changes in the law require schools to offer free drinking water, to increase the amount of vegetables and fruits available and to involve students and parents in planning the menus. Parents can improve the cafeteria programs in many ways. Eat at school with your child, encourage your child to eat break- fast and lunch at school, talk with your school's principal about moving breakfast in the classroom, and ask the food services administrators to participate in developing the menus. Extra Food for Pregnant Students At many schools, pregnant and breast- feeding students can get extra food at breakfast or lunch, or an extra snack. To be eligible, the student must provide some written verification that she is pregnant or breastfeeding from a doctor, nurse, midwife, clinic, WIC or Cal-Learn program. FREE SUMMER LUNCH All children and teens ages 18 and under can eat free, nutritious meals during the summer or any time when school is out through the Summer Lunch Program. No application or other kind of paperwork is required. Meals and snacks are served at schools, parks, and recreation centers. Child Nutrition Child Nutrition Some parks operate year-round and can feed your children when they are "off-track" from year-round schools. The Summer Lunch Program is located in areas where at least half the children qualify for free- or reduced price-meals in school. However, any child under 19 can eat there free regardless of where they live or their family's income. If the child is physically handicapped, the age limit is 21. Some residential or day camps and home- less shelters offer the program, but you may have to fill out an application. To find out where your children can eat free when they are not in school: call 311, (818) 546-2384, or visit If you want to learn to start a free site in your area, call the California Food Policy Advocates at (213) 482-8200. CHILD CARE AND AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM Family day care homes, homeless shelters, after-school programs and child care cen- ters should receive USDA funds to help pay for meals and snacks for infants, toddlers, children and teens. Call (800) 952-5609 to learn about starting a program or ask your child care provider WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS? The law says that children who get free or reduced-price meals cannot be treated differently than those who get full-price meals. No separate lines, different meals or meal tickets, required work, or other types of discrimination are allowed. Ask the school, child-care sponsor, or summer recreation program sponsor for a "fair hearing" if you apply and are un- fairly denied. Also request the hearing if you receive notice that your benefits will be cut. By doing so within 10 days, your child's benefits will continue until the hearing takes place.

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