Los Olivos School announced it will serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Afterschool Snack Program and released the federal guidelines for the free and reduced-price breakfasts, lunches and milk.

Children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if their household incomes meet the federal guidelines listed in charts available at the school office.

Children who meet the definition of foster, homeless, migrant or runaway and those enrolled in their schools Head Start program are eligible for free meals.

Households that receive benefits through Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals by filling out an application.

Applications are being sent to households with letters about the free and reduced-price meal program, and those who want to apply for meal benefits must fill out an application for all children in the household and give it to the nutrition office at 2540 Alamo Pintado Ave. in Los Olivos, a school spokeswoman said.

Help filling out applications is available by calling the school at 805-688-4025.

Applicants will be notified if an application is approved or denied.

If a household receives a letter saying all children automatically qualify for free meals when any member receives CalFresh, CalWORKs or FDPIR benefits, there is no need to turn in an application, according to the guidelines released by the district.

However, households should contact school officials if any child in the household is not listed on the notification letter.

Households also must notify school officials if they do not want to receive free or reduced-price meals.

Foster children are eligible for free meals and may be included as a household member if the foster family chooses to also apply for nonfoster children.

Including foster children as household members may help the nonfoster children qualify for the free or reduced-price meals, the spokeswoman said.

If nonfoster children are not eligible, it will not prevent foster children from receiving free meals.

A child’s eligibility status from last school year will continue for up to 30 days into the new school year, until the school processes a new application or until the child is otherwise certified for free or reduced-price meals.

After the 30 school days are up, a child will have to pay full price for meals if the household has not received a notification letter for free or reduced-price meals, the spokeswoman said.

Applications may be turned in anytime during the school year.

For example, if a household is not eligible now but income goes down or household size goes up, or if a household member starts receiving CalFresh, CalWORKs or FDPIR benefits, an application can be turned in at that time.

Information provided on applications will be used to determine eligibility and maty be verified at any time during the school year by school officials, the spokeswoman said.

Applicants who do not agree with the decision or the verification results may discuss it with school officials. The school is an equal opportunity provider.

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, news editor for the Santa Ynez Valley News. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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