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USDA Free Meal Program FAQs

USDA Free Meal Program Frequently Asked Questions


Q:  I am concerned about taking a meal away from someone who needs it more than my child does.

A:  Money has been appropriated by Congress to feed all children across the country through the end of the school year.  The district has the staff and the supplies to feed ALL students two meals per day.


Q:  Why would I want my child to get a free breakfast or lunch?

A:  Our cafeteria prepares fresh, nutritious and delicious meals each day.  The USDA requires fruit and vegetables to be part of each meal.  Perhaps your child will try something different and discover that they like it!  It is also a great way for busy parents to save time and money each day in the preparation of meals.


Q: How long will the meals be offered for free?

A:  USDA has announced that this program will run through the end of the school year.  When we know of any changes in the program that would cause a charge to your child’s account, the district will inform parents immediately so that you can plan accordingly.


Q:  What if my child just gets a milk?

A:   This is not considered a complete meal according to the USDA and we must charge $.45 to cover our cost.  You could, however, get a complete meal with milk for free.


Q:  Will this change what food is served to my children?  We saw a lot of sandwiches during the summer.

A:  Each day, all students will have three meal choices for lunch - hot entree, sandwich, or a specialty salad.  Breakfast is either a hot entree or cereal, both with milk and juice.  All meals follow the USDA nutritional guidelines for students.  


Q: My family did not qualify for free or reduced meals when I completed an application, can my children still get a free lunch?

A: YES!  ANY child enrolled in USD 382 can receive a free breakfast and a free lunch each school day.


Q: What about my auto debit?  I signed up to have meal costs deducted from my bank account each month.

A:  Auto Debit for meals has been suspended at this time.  Any funds in your student’s meal account will remain there until they are needed in the future. 


Q:  What about the debit for my child’s school fees?

A:  We will continue to debit for fees on the first of each month.  If you have any questions, please contact heather.vanslyke@usd382.com.


Q: Can I get a refund for the balance in my student’s meal account?

A:  We have frozen these accounts at this time.  Those funds will be needed again in the future, so we are advising parents to leave the money there for now.


Q:  What if my child is doing remote learning or is quarantined?

A:  Free meals are available for everyone!  You must register to pick up meals by calling Heather Van Slyke at 620-672-4500 or email heather.vanslyke@usd382.com.  Meals will be available to pick up each school day from 11:00 - 11:30.  A lunch for the current day and breakfast for the following day will be in each bag.  You must be enrolled as a student in USD 382 to utilize this service.