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A California First Creates Greater Access to Healthy and Nutritious Meals

A California First Creates Greater Access to Healthy and Nutritious Meals

Beginning August, all RCSD students can benefit from California’s Universal Meals Program which went into effect for the 2022-23 school year. The landmark program offers wholesome breakfast and lunch at no cost for all public school students, regardless of income eligibility.

“It greatly reduces spending for families,” said Anna Lague, Child Nutrition Services Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

“It’s a well-rounded, nutritious meal that families can feel good about–including whole grains, lean meats, reduced fat dairy, fresh produce, and baked items rather than fried.”

Studies show that healthful eating habits contribute to academic success as students are focused and feeling their best when enjoying balanced meals.

The new California mandate builds on and supplements the longstanding federal National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) by removing the financial need requirements which promotes accessibility for all families.

“The major benefit is that any child can eat for free, whether or not they qualify by Federal guidelines,” Lague said. 

Families no longer have to complete a meal application in order for their students to receive free school meals. However, because the number of students who qualify for Free and Reduced Priced Meals has traditionally been used to calculate additional funding for school districts, all RCSD families, regardless of income level, will continue to be asked to complete the Student Benefit Form to to ensure that RCSD is maximizing funding opportunities to address the needs of our District community. RCSD families are encouraged to check their inbox and look for the Student Benefit Form.

Families can view upcoming menus and nutrition facts for breakfast and lunch online at any time.