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USDA MEALS FAQ

All Black River Schools student's regardless of household income can receive one breakfast and one lunch at no cost.

The free meals are the result of a nationwide emergency waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will run through the end of the 2021-22 school year or until USDA funding runs out (whichever occurs first).

Why must meals meet guidelines to be FREE?

The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture. A complete meal, meeting nutrient content and portion size requirements, allows a school to receive benefits (money and USDA foods) and is considered a reimbursable meal. The USDA requires that school meals funded by the government comply with K-12 nutritional guidelines and the component requirements.

For more information, you visit the USDA Nutrition Standards for School Meals website.

Why is purchasing just milk not free?

The Smart Snacks Rule in School nutrition standards applies to all foods sold to students at school, and outside of the federally reimbursable meals served through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

What is a free meal? 

BREAKFAST

Schools are required to offer four items and students must select 3 of the items to make a meal.

 Entree (2 items)- 2 grain OR 1 grain and 1 meat/meat alternate

Fruit/Vegetable* 

*Vegetables are not a required component at breakfast but can be served in place of the required fruit component

 Milk

LUNCH

Schools are required to offer five components and students are required to take 3 of the 5 components to make a meal.

Bread/Grain

Meat/meat alternate

Fruit

Vegetable

Milk

 

Do I still need to complete a Free/Reduced application if I think I qualify?

Yes. This program is in effect until the end of the 2021-22 school year or until USDA waiver funds run out. At that time, student eligibility status will revert to either Paid, Free, or Reduced. If you have been approved for Free/Reduced meals for 2021-22, that status remains in effect for the entire school year. If you have not yet applied, but believe you may be eligible, you may submit a Free/Reduced application at any time.

What Makes A Meal?

What Makes A Meal?

Discrimination Statement

Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:  http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1)   mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
 Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
 1400 Independence Avenue, SW
 Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2)   fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3)  email: [email protected].


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