USDA EXTENDS FREE MEALS FOR CHILDREN FOR THE REST OF THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended flexibility in school foodservice programs through the rest of the school year, which means all school-age students at the eligible schools below will receive free meals (both breakfast and lunch) regardless if they qualify for benefits.
The USDA is federally funding this program, which is an extension of the Summer Feeding Program. During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, from March to May, Walton County distributed 236,982 meals to approximately 4,500 children a week during an eight-week period. Now with the extension of this program, over 80,000 school sites have applied and been accepted, including Walton County. The USDA hopes this unprecedented move will help ensure no matter what situation, children will have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic as parents may be affected with work interruptions and increased financial hardships.
- Dune Lakes Elementary
- Emerald Coast Middle
- Freeport Elementary
- Freeport High
- Freeport Middle
- Maude Saunders Elementary
- Mossy Head
- South Walton High
- Van R. Butler Elementary
- Walton Academy
- Walton High
- Walton Middle
- West DeFuniak Elementary
Free meals begin for students Monday, September 21, 2020 for both brick and mortar schools and Innovative Learning Digital Academy (ILDA) students. For brick and mortar, students are required to scan lunch cards, or Point of Sale operators must enter student numbers at point of service. Even though the meals are free, tracking meal service counts will allow us to file for claim reimbursements. In addition to free breakfast and lunch, schools may still have a la carte items, such as ice cream, for a small fee. ILDA students must reserve their food online by Friday to secure items for five breakfasts and five lunches per student for the following week. Reservation forms are found on our district’s ILDA webpage. ILDA students may have their packaged weekly meals picked up by parents at school sites.
It is still EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, and families MUST continue to apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits even though meals are free through December. Because these forms impact educational funding and because the program will end in December, having an application on file for the current school year will help our district and eliminate families’ benefit disruptions in January. If your child has a current positive balance, please know we will hold your balance until January as well.
The Walton County School District (WCSD) is very excited about this opportunity in providing such a great benefit to our children, and we encourage all students to participate! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your school or the district’s Food Service department at 850.892.1100 ext. 1361.
Family Empowerment Scholarship
The Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) Program is one of Florida’s greatest victories for low-income and working-class families, and it is the first of its kind to extend support to middle-income families. Following the 2019 Legislative Session, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 7070, which creates the FES Program and provides 18,000 students life-changing education opportunities for academic and career success.
The FES Program will provide an educational lifeline to students waiting for an opportunity to find the school that will best work for them and puts more parents in the driver’s seat to determine the best educational environments for their children.
A student is eligible for a scholarship if the student meets the following criteria:
The student’s household income level does not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level ($77,250 for a family of four) or the student is on the direct certification list (list of children who qualify for the food assistance program, the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Program, or the Food Distribution on Indian Reservations program), or
The student is currently placed, or during the previous state fiscal year was placed, in foster care or in out-of-home care as defined in s. 39.01
The student is eligible to enroll in kindergarten or has spent the prior school year (2018-19) in attendance at a Florida public school. Prior attendance means the student was enrolled in and in attendance at a Florida public school during both the October and February student counts.
A sibling of a student who is participating in the scholarship program under the above eligibility criteria is eligible for a scholarship if the student resides in the same household as the sibling.
Prior to scholarship funds being awarded, the student must be accepted and enrolled in a participating private school. For a list of eligible schools, please view the Department’s Private School Directory. A private school that is currently eligible to participate in any of the scholarship programs is eligible to participate in the FES. However, parents should contact the schools to inquire as to whether the private school will participate in the program.
How to Begin Application Process
Parents who meet the eligibility requirements above and are interested in applying for the FES should first contact one of Florida’s two approved scholarship funding organizations (SFOs) to complete the income verification process. Students who have already applied for the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship program may be determined to meet the income eligibility without resubmitting household income documentation to the SFO.
2020-2021 School Year
Online Free & Reduced Meal Applications
The WCSD Food and Nutrition Department is accepting free and reduced meal applications online! The online applications enable parents to complete and submit the applications faster, while allowing Food and Nutrition Services to approve the applications in a more timely manner. The application can be accessed from any computer with internet capabilities. Food and Nutrition services is happy to bring this technology to our families to ensure that students receive meal benefits as quickly as possible. The online applications are secure and the application is confidential. Please remember, if your child qualifies for meal benefits, these benefits are available for breakfast and lunch. Completion of applications and benefit determination can qualify your child for additional benefits and resources.
Printable Free & Reduced Meal Applications
EZ School Pay
EZSchoolPay.com is an easy, convenient and secure way to pay for school meals. It allows you to review transaction history, check balances and receive low balance alerts. Sign-up is easy and free!
The WCSD Food and Nutrition Department has partnered with MealViewer to create an interactive menu that provides specific information about the WCSD menu such as nutritional content and allergy information. This new virtual menu is perfect for health-conscious parents and students looking to make healthy choices for breakfast and lunch, or anyone who wants to learn more about the foods they eat at school. Download the FREE app today to access school menus on your smartphone.
If you have not found us on Facebook yet, search “Walton County School District – Food and Nutrition Services” and like our page. We keep our Facebook page up to date with school and cafeteria information, pictures and more!
Food and Nutrition Home
- Wellness Policy.pdf (165.5 KBs)
- Meal Charge Procedure.pdf (125.9 KBs)
- Justice for All.pdf (207.1 KBs)
- Free & Reduced Meal Application 2020-21 SY.pdf (1.6 MBs)
- Free & Reduced Meal Application 2020-21 SY - Spanish.pdf (1.5 MBs)
- Family Empowerment Scholarship Spanish - FES Letter Spanish.pdf (291.6 KBs)
- Family Empowerment Scholarship English - FES Letter English.pdf (221.2 KBs)
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email: [email protected]
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.