January 14, 2019

Free and Reduced Meals: Not Always Enough

Guest Columnist: Brian Latty,
Charlotte Public School Food Service Supervisor

The Charlotte Public Schools Food Service Department strives to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to eat well-balanced, nutritional meals while at school. One way we do this is by making sure all families have access to applications for free or reduced price meals. These are sent to every household enrolled at Charlotte Public Schools at the beginning of each new school year. Applications are also available on our website, in building offices, and by contacting the Food Service Department. Once an application is submitted, notification is returned with the updated family status of free, reduced price or full pay meals based on their family income or federal assistance program for the school year.

Families that submitted an application at the start of the school year and were denied or never completed an application are always welcome to submit an application when income changes or family size increases. CPS will accept applications at any time during the year.

Even with the USDA National School Meals and the Free or Reduced Program, we have families that are struggling to make ends meet. A family of four would need to make less than $32,630, combined household income to qualify for free student meals. Many families at Charlotte Public Schools have income just above the qualifying guidelines, but still need assistance. Some families that qualify for reduced price meals still struggle to keep their accounts at a positive balance.

This past holiday season we had several people contact the Food Service Department to make a donation. These donations were used to turn a negative food account into a positive balance for a student or family in need. The gift of giving back by our community members has made a difference for many of our students and families at CPS.

If you have questions regarding the Free or Reduced Meal Program or would like to make a donation for a student or family in need, please contact Denise Kendra or Brian Latty at 517-541-5140.

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