Free School Meals for All
California's Universal Meals Program
All students in Poway Unified School District (Preschool through Grade 12) are invited to enjoy one free breakfast meal and one free lunch meal every school day, regardless of household income eligibility. California's Universal Meals Program improves access to nutritious school meals for all children, removes the stigma associated with free and reduced-price meals, and eliminates unpaid meal debt from negative account balances. School meals are planned according to the USDA meal patterns of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, to ensure students receive well balanced nutrition and age-appropriate calories.
What's included in the free meal?
School breakfast includes an entree, fruit and juice choices, and milk. Examples of breakfast entrees include breakfast sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, whole grain-rich pastries, and cereal.
School lunch includes an entree, fruit and vegetable sides, and milk.
In order to qualify for the free meal, students must choose at least 3 items, and at least one must be fruit, vegetable, or juice.
Why can't my student just take a free drink?
The Universal Meals Program requires school meals to follow USDA meal pattern requirements. To ensure meals are adequate and balanced, there are mandatory minimum food group requirements.
Why should I still complete the meal application?
Families are still strongly encouraged to complete the confidential application for free or reduced-price meal eligibility because they may qualify for other benefits such as discounts on childcare, transportation, testing fees, and college application fees. Also, free and reduced-price eligibility is one factor that determines school site funding.
To learn more about the Universal Meals Program, please visit: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/cauniversalmeals.asp