DUSD offering free, reduced-price meals

DOWNEY – Downey Unified announced Monday that it is again participating in the policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the Downey Unified’s National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. 

Each school and the district office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

Household size and income criteria will be used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price or full-price meal benefits. Children from households whose income is at or below the levels are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. 

Children who receive Cal Fresh (Food Stamps), California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments (Kin-GAP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits are automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside. 

Eligibility for a foster child is based on a separate application and solely on the amount of the child’s “personal use” income.

Application forms are available at the Food Service Office at Downey Unified School District. All households were sent a letter informing them of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for enrolled children. Applications are also available at the each school site office and each school cafeterias. 

To apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits, households must complete an application and return it to the Food Service Department for processing. Parents can also go online to www.schoollunchapp.com to submit an application. Applications may be submitted at any time during the school year. 

The information households provide on the application will be used to determine meal eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by the Food Service Department.

Requirements for school officials to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits are as follows: for households receiving Cal Fresh (Food Stamp), CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits – applications need only include the enrolled child(ren)’s name, Food Stamp, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, and the signature of an adult household member. For households who do not list a Cal Fresh (Food Stamp), CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, the application must include the names of all household members, the amount and source of the income received by each household member, and the signature and corresponding Social Security number of an adult household member. 

If the household member who signs the application does not have a Social Security number, the household member must indicate on the application that a Social Security number is not available.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the Food Service Office, will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the eligibility ruling may discuss the decision with the Food Service Office on an informal basis. Parents may also make a formal request for an appeal hearing of the decision and may do so orally or in writing with the Food Services Director. Parents or guardians should contact their children’s school for specific information regarding the name of the determining official and/or hearing official for a specific school, agency, or district.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the criteria levels.

Contact the Downey Unified’s Department of Food Services at (562) 469-6672 for more information.