Free school breakfast for all students

Published on: August 7, 2019

Free school breakfast for all students

District issues free and reduced price lunch guidelines

By STEPHEN JACKSON
Public schools in Hillsborough County open Aug. 12. There is absolutely no reason for any student to go to school and start morning classes on an empty stomach. Every student, regardless of age or family income, can receive a free breakfast at all public schools in the morning, prior to the first bell. And if a student’s family is income eligible, the student can receive a free or reduced-price lunch at mid-day.
The National School Breakfast Program continues to make it possible for all school children to receive a free, nutritious breakfast every school day. Breakfast options include fruit and yogurt parfaits, whole grain muffins, and hot, fresh breakfast sandwiches. Every school breakfast served meets federal nutrition standards and is offered free of charge to all students in Hillsborough County public schools. Check with your child’s school for specific breakfast times.
Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced price meals. The 2019-2020 household application for school meal benefits is available online. To apply, go to the school district website at www.sdhc.k12.fl.us, type “Go SNS” in the search bar and follow the instructions. Applying online is simple, secure and the fastest way to apply for free school meal benefits.
Information on how to complete an application for school meal benefits is available on the school district website for all parents/guardians. Parent information letters and online application promo cards will be sent home in student opening packets from each school. Additional parent information letters and online application promo cards, along with paper applications for school meal benefits, will be available in the principal’s office at each school.
A new family application must be completed each year. For reference only, parents may view a sample application in 49 different languages at the following website: www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/translated-applications.
The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility. The information may also be used by the school system in determining whether the child is eligible for other educational programs. Parents may request an eligibility letter to show eligibility for other programs by calling the Healthy Meals Express Application Center at 813-840-7066 or in person at The Center for Nutrition and Culinary Services at 9014 Brittany Way, Tampa, Florida 33619.
Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. If a child moves from one Hillsborough County public school to another in the same year, parents do not need to submit a new application. The majority of applications are approved based on the gross income and size of the household. For an income application to be complete, it must provide the following:
Total gross monthly household income by amount, frequency, and type;
Names of all household members;
Signature of an adult household member, certifying that the information provided is correct; and
Last 4-digits of the social security number of the adult signing the application or a check mark placed by the word “NONE” for this household member if that individual does not have a social security number.
The school district may request documentation to verify the amount of gross income. Foster children will receive free school meal benefits regardless of the child’s personal income or the income of the household.
Households that receive SNAP (food stamps) or TANF (temporary assistance to needy families) are required to list on the application only the child’s or children’s name(s), the SNAP or TANF Florida case number (do not use the EBT food stamp card number), and the printed name and signature of the adult household member completing the application.
The school district’s Healthy Meals Express Application Center will review all applications and determine eligibility. If information is missing, applicants may not receive school meal benefits. Each applicant will receive notification by U.S. mail or email of the results of his or her meal application within 10 days of submission. To verify a child’s eligibility, call 866-544-5575 with the student’s ID number. If parents are dissatisfied with the determination and wish to discuss the decision informally with Cynthia Sweet, program accountability manager, they may do so by calling the Healthy Meals Express Application Center at 813-840-7066. If they wish to make a formal appeal, they may do so in writing to Mary Kate Harrison, general manager, Student Nutrition Services, 9014 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619.

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