District continues free school meals for all students

Fayetteville-Manlius School District will continue to provide free daily meals to all students again this school year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the flexibilities it granted to school meal programs last year to provide free breakfast and lunch for all children 18 and younger through June 2022. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closures brought issues of hunger and food insecurity among school-age children globally to the forefront. The federal program’s one-year expansion aims to ensure all children have access to nutritious meals.

“Academic growth and healthy eating go hand-in-hand,” F-M Food Service Director Adam Jarosz said. “We will do everything we can to make sure all F-M students have access to nutritious food.”

Like last school year, all F-M students are eligible to receive at no cost to them one breakfast and one lunch meal per school day, regardless of family income. Enrollment into the free meal program is automatic for all F-M students; registration is not required.

Every free meal the school district serves provides revenue to F-M’s child nutrition program. The USDA reimburses the district’s program per meal, which covers the cost of the food, as well as operating costs for school kitchens and cafeterias.

Students can use their school meal accounts to purchase items that are not included in the free meal program, such as a la carte menu items, snacks and additional hot meals. Students who bring lunch from home may purchase milk and juice from the cafeteria. There is a charge for these items if they are ordered individually and not with a hot meal.

For more information about food service, including monthly menus, daily ordering information and how to manage students’ online meal accounts, please visit the Food Service Department section of the district website.

Free and reduced-price meal applications available

Because some federal funding sources are tied to the district’s free and reduced-price lunch percentage, families who meet federal income guidelines should still complete and submit to their child’s school an application for free and reduced-price meals.

Applications can be obtained at each school or by calling the F-M Food Service Department at 315-692-1809. They can also be printed from the Food Service Department section of the district website.