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Meal Applications

May I fax my application to the School Food Service office?
No, only original applications will be accepted.

Where can I submit my household’s application?
You may complete a Free and Reduced Price Meal Application on- line at www.palmbeachschools.org/sfs

May I put my child’s nickname on the application?
No. Please write your child’s full name that was used to register him/her in school.

My children attend different Palm Beach County schools. How many applications do I need to complete?
One application listing all students living in your household is all that is required, no matter what district schools they attend. Make sure that all students are listed in Step 1 of the application.

I have a foster child. How do I apply for free or reduced meals for him/her?
If a State or local foster agency does not initially provide documentation for a categorically eligible foster child, an application identifying the child as a foster child must be completed. Additionally, a household may now include foster children on their application.

Does my VPK (Voluntary Pre-K) student need an application?
Yes. VPK students must qualify for free or reduced lunch benefits using the same criteria as any other student.

Do I need to provide income information for my school-aged children?
Total income must be completed for all students listed on the application.

Do I need to include my Social Security Number on the application?
Yes. It is required on all applications that list income; however, only the LAST FOUR digits of the social security number are required. If you are receiving SNAP, TANF, or are applying for a foster child, a Social Security Number is not required. If the adult completing the application does not have a Social Security Number, check the box in Section 9 of the application.

I currently receive Food Stamps. What do I need in order to apply for free meals for my child?
If you are currently receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), you will need the 10-digit case number required to complete section one of the Application for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (normally found on the Letter of Eligibility from the SNAP or TANF office). It is not your EBT card number.

What are the “frequency bubbles”?
In income section of the application, there are four bubbles (W, 2W, M, and 2M). "W" means "Weekly", "2W" means "Every two weeks", "M" means "Monthly", and "2M" means "Twice a month". Please be sure to fill in the correct bubble next to each household member’s income, or your child's benefits may be delayed while we try to reach you. We will not assume that your income is monthly if the bubbles are left blank. If a household member listed does not receive any income place a zero in the income box.

What does “Additional Benefits” mean on the Free and Reduced Price Meal Application?
if you DO want this application to be used in determining your child(ren)s eligibility in other programs, to include possible scholarships, field trips, fee waivers, and low cost health insurance which is available to children through Medicaid or the State Children's Heath Insurance program (SCHIP), place an X in the box provided in section 6 of the Free and Reduced Meal Application.

How will I be notified when my application has been approved or denied?
Once you apply on-line, please allow ten working days for the application to be processed. You will receive a letter of eligibility either in the mail or it will be sent home with your child.

I haven’t received notification on whether or not my application was approved. What can I do?
If you do not receive notification of eligibility, it may be due to an incomplete application. If you applied online and you retained the Confirmation # you received after completing the application, click here to check the status of the application. You may also call the School Food Service office at 1-888-383-2025 for assistance.

My household was approved for reduced price meals. What price do I have to pay for meals?
Breakfast is free for all students in District schools. Reduced price lunch is $.40 daily per child.

Who do I contact if I need help completing this application?
You may call the School Food Service office at 1-888-383-2025 for assistance in completing the Family Free and Reduced Price Meal Application.

Are there any other languages available?
Our online system offers applications in English, Spanish, and Creole and is the most efficient process for applying for meal benefits. Paper applications are available at all schools in English, Spanish and Creole.

Is there a time limit on when I can apply for free or reduced meals?
No. You may apply for free or reduced price meal benefits at any time during the school year.

Menus & Nutrition

How are the menus planned?
Menus are carefully planned to provide students an opportunity to select from a variety of nutritious foods that they will both enjoy eating and contribute to good health. Standardized recipes are utilized to ensure that all students in every school receive appetizing, high quality foods prepared in a safe and sanitary environment.

Are school meals healthy?
Yes! Meals are planned to meet the Dietary Guidelines for key nutrients and calories for growing children. Our school kitchens utilize oven-baked or steamed cooking methods; foods are never deep fried. In addition, a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milks are available every day in every school across the district.

How does the department assure safe meals are served to students?
Before working in any of our cafeterias, potential employees are trained in proper sanitation techniques and provided continuous education throughout the year. The food service department adheres to a food safety program based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. HACCP is a systematic approach designed to reduce the risk of foodborne hazards by focusing on each step of the food preparation process from receiving to storage. In addition, all cafeteria managers are required to become ServSafe. This certification is both nationally recognized and accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Restaurant Association.

Can schools make-up their own menu?
No! The School District of Palm Beach County participates in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program. Breakfast and lunch are designed to fall within a specific caloric range, to offer no more than 10% of saturated fat, no Trans fat, whole grains, and more fruits and vegetables. In addition, the design of the new meal pattern encourages students to select foods that are higher in certain vitamins and minerals (A, C, Calcium, Iron, etc).

Can my child purchase a la carte snacks?
The Food Service Department continues to monitor and evaluate a la carte items offered in all Palm Beach County schools.  As of the 2014-2015 school year, all foods sold at school during the school day meet the USDA nutrition standards.  The Smart Snacks in School regulations applies to foods sold a la carte, in the school store, and vending machines.  Each year, guides are created for elementary, middle and high school to assist Food Service Managers in purchasing only those items that have been approved for their school level. A la carte items will vary from school to school so please contact your Food Service Manager to inquire about the selection offered at the school.

What are commodities, and how are they utilized in school meals?
Commodities are of domestic origin and directly support the American agricultural producers. These food items are allocated by the USDA based on the student participation in the National School Lunch Program. Commodities must meet high quality specifications as do all of our food purchases. These foods allow the department to keep food costs down; therefore keeping meal prices reasonable. Our district chooses to allocate commodity dollars towards nutritionally enhanced protein items such as turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, and cheese. We use recognizable companies such as Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Land O’Lakes, Jennie-O, Heinz, Advance Pierre, American Pride, and Red Gold to manufacture our items.

How is the food service department funded?
The main revenue sources for a school food service budget come from federal reimbursements, money collected from paying students, and a la carte sales. Our food service program does not receive money from the District’s general operating budget; therefore our revenue streams must s-t-r-e-t-c-h to cover ever escalating food costs, repairs, replacement and purchase of new equipment, indirect cost payments to the district, salary and benefits, supplies, and training of staff.

Why purchase a meal at school?
• Nutritious meals are designed to meet specific nutrition standards
• Food is safe and sanitary
• Cost is less than bringing an equally nutritious meal from home
• Several choices are available daily including vegetarian options

Why is pricing different for an adult purchasing a meal?
The food service program does not receive reimbursement for adult meals. As a result, an adult is charged a low fee for their meal which reflects the actual cost of the food items.

My child has a special dietary need, where can I get information about the foods that she can purchase?
Please visit the “Special Dietary Needs” web page or contact the School Food Service Department for more information

Meal Payments

Cash, check, money orders are accepted in the cafeteria at the school site. Online credit card prepayments are accepted via the website https://palmbeach.schoolcashonline.com.

How do I set-up an online prepayment account?
Go to the web address:  https://palmbeach.schoolcashonline.com  and click on the “Get Started Today” button.  (Note: When completing registration for Step 1 you will enter your first and last name not the students first and last name)

Is there a fee associated with making online credit card prepayments?
No, this service is free of charge.

Do I need to know the student ID number when creating an online prepayment account?
No, if you do not know the student ID number you will need enter the student school name, first name, last name, and birth date.

How can I view the student current account balance and meal purchase history?
Go to the web address: https://palmbeach.schoolcashonline.com/ and click on the “Meal Plan” button, click on the “Meal Purchase History” button.

Do I have to make an online prepayment in order to view my student account balance and meal purchase history?
No, go to the web address:  https://palmbeach.schoolcashonline.com/  and click on the “Get Started Today” button.  (Note: When completing registration for Step 1 you will enter your first and last name not the students first and last name). Add you student by entering the student school name, first name, last name, and birth date. Click on the “Meal Plan” button, click on the “Meal Purchase History” button.

How can I know when my student cafeteria meal account balance is low?
Go to the web address: https://palmbeach.schoolcashonline.com/ and click on the “Meal Plan” button, click on the “Balance Notification” button, check the “Receive low balance notifications box, and enter the threshold amount to receive a low balance notification email.

What happens to my students account balance when he/she move to another school?
The student meal account balance is linked to the student school ID number and will remain when he/she transfer to another school within the Palm Beach County School District.

How can I get my student meal account balance refunded?
Contact the school cafeteria manager and a written letter and/or email request must be provided to include the following; student name, student ID number, parent/guardian on record name, parent/guardian on record address.  A check will be sent via postal mail within 3 weeks.