FOOD SERVICE INFORMATION FOR SCHOOL YEAR 2023-2024
Free Meals for Students
Meals are free for all Massachusetts students for the 23-24 school year. The Massachusetts legislature has provided funding to make meals available at no cost to all students during school year 2023-2024, regardless of household income. However, families should still complete a Meal Benefit Application as this provides data for key funding for academic resources and may also connect families to additional benefits. This data will also support the additional funds provided by the Commonwealth for this pilot.Students are entitled to one free breakfast and one free lunch each day. Students must take the required meal components to get a free meal. A free breakfast must include a Milk, Fruit or Vegetable and a Grain. A free lunch must include 3 of these 5 meals components (Protein, Milk, Grain, Fruit and Vegetable) and one component must be a Fruit or Vegetable. Individual milks, extra slices of pizza, second breakfasts and lunches, and a la carte items are NOT free and must be purchased. Parents should ensure ample funds are in their student’s lunch account or students may use cash to purchase these items.
Breakfast Availability at All Schools
Breakfast will be available during the morning arrival time and before the start of the school day.
Free and Reduced Priced Meal Application—Why Apply?
Although meals are free for all students regardless of income, we encourage families who would otherwise qualify for free or reduced price meals [based upon household income/economic need] to complete the Free/Reduced Price Meal Application so as to potentially be eligible for free or reduced fees for busing, Extended School Care, or athletics. Click here to access that form.
Students Must Use the Pin-Pad System
Students must use their pin-pad in order to receive a free meal and/or purchase an a la carte item. This is how the district documents meals distributed and substantiates our claim for reimbursement from the government.
Frequently Asked Questions: 2023-2024 School Year Information
1. How do I know what is being served each day?
Students can view the monthly menus by clicking here. Please understand that there may be some days when we need to vary from the printed menu due to inability to procure the foods we want. We face many of the same issues retail consumers do when it comes to food shortages and/or delays in shipping products on a schedule that meets our needs.
2. Will my child have a snack time each day and how do I know what time that will be?
Each school and classroom will manage its own snack schedule. Please be in touch with your student’s teacher if you have further questions on the schedule.
3. Can my child just get a free milk or piece of fruit at school since meals are free this year?
No. The way that this free-meals program works is via a monthly claim and reimbursement scheme. It’s not a “free food program” from the government. The District has to purchase all of our food and pay for all of our labor. We submit a month-end claim for financial reimbursement and we can only serve and claim for complete meals that meet the National School Lunch nutrition regulations. Students can certainly purchase milk, second meals, or extra pizza if they have funds on their student meal account or they bring cash.
4. Are school districts getting free food and if so, why can’t my child just get extra pizza or take whatever s/he wants to?
No, schools are not getting free food. Please see above answer. The District receives a small portion of its food in the form of government surplus “commodities” but we have to pay for shipping costs. These commodity foods are typically large-sized canned fruits and vegetables or processed meats that possess the proper nutritional components and portion sizes as regulated by the National School Lunch Program.
5. Can my child bring their lunch and buy milk each day?
Yes. They will need to have funds on their student meal account or pay cash for milk each day.
6. Why does my child need a PIN number to get a milk or a meal?
Like most school districts, we use an electronic point-of-sale cash register system that records student meal distribution and can also charge a student’s account for the purchase of a la carte items. This system is utilized to generate the required data to submit our monthly reimbursement claim to the state government.
7. How do I add money to my child’s food service account?
Parents can add funds to their child’s meal account by using the SchoolPay application and completing a credit card transaction. Click here to enter the PowerSchool Parent Portal and then access the SchoolPay payment center.
8. My child is a vegetarian, can s/he access those types of meals at school?
Yes. Breakfast and lunch meals always offer a non-meat alternative. Please see the monthly menus accessible here for more details
Beth Nichols, Food Service Director
Please contact the school lunch office with any questions, suggestions, or ideas. The School Lunch Office is located at Shrewsbury High School, 64 Holden Street. Shrewsbury, MA 01545. The telephone number is 508 841-8819. Each school site has a manager also available to speak with you.
The contact numbers and email addresses are as follows:
- MAKE ONLINE PAYMENT TO YOUR CHILD'S ACCOUNT
- Lunch Menus
- Free & Reduced Meal Application
- Breakfast Menus
- High School After School Meals (opens in new window)
- Meal Magic Point of Sale System
- Nutrition Nuggets
- Massachusetts Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods & Beverages (opens in new window)
- Summer Meals
- Food Service Newsletter
- Food Service Handbook
- Other Governmental Resources for Families
- USDA Non-Discrimination Statement (opens in new window)
- Meal Charge Policy
- Meal Magic Bimonthly Promotion
- Civil Rights Statement
- DONATION: Erase Student School Lunch and Fee Debt
- Meal Modification
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