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Last updateSat, 21 Oct 2017 12am

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    Friday, October 20, 2017-2:55:25P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

PSS extends deadline for free meal applications

THE Public School System’s Child Nutrition Program will continue accepting free meal program applications.

Dale Roberts, program director, said the PSS-Food and Nutrition Services office is still receiving applications from parents and guardians even though the deadline was set for Sept. 15.

“That was the last day, so guess what — more people turned in their paper in the following week. We had a steady stream of people here on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all morning,” Roberts said in an interview.

He said they are also getting emails from parents and guardians.

Roberts expects to receive more applications in the next two weeks. “We are not going to settle down for probably another two weeks. After that, then we can move on and start doing another task that we can’t do right now because of the filing of applications.”

Once all the applications are turned in, Roberts said they will start verifying them. “We’ll do the math to determine the kids who are entitled to be on the free meal eligibility list.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows every child who was on last year’s list to get free meals for the first 30 days of the new school year.

Roberts said they are overwhelmed by the number of applicants this school year. “It is difficult to figure out who are the children that should be paying or not,” he added.

Through a USDA Nutrition Assistance Grant, PSS offers free meals or at reduced prices for students.

To qualify for free meals, Roberts said, a household should have income below the limits of the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.

“The kids will be qualified for free meals for the whole school year. If you don’t fill out an application your child will not qualify. If you fill out an application and the income of your household is too much, we will call you and send you a letter saying you are not qualified,” Roberts said, adding that “when we get the application, we do all the math that is based on the documents given to us.”

Students not eligible for free school meals may buy a subsidized school breakfast for 50 cents and lunch for 75 cents. Additional lunch can be purchased for $3.80 at elementary schools and $4.30 at secondary schools.

“Every meal we served is subsidized by the federal government,” Roberts said. “The USDA is paying for the students’ meal. We get a federal grant every year that covers the program and the CNMI government doesn’t pay any of this. It is all federally funded.”