Stacie Light, director of school food and nutrition for Warsaw Community Schools, issued a parent letter notifying the community that there will be changes to the school meals program, which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, school corporations across the country have been operating with the use of a federal waiver that allowed them to feed every child for free through the end of this school year. The use of this waiver will not be available after this school year and corporations will return to the traditional eligibility requirements for free, reduced and paid meals. This means that for the 2022-23 school year, WCS will process free and reduced-price meal benefit applications, according to a news release from WCS.

The Food Services Department does have the ability to directly certify students who receive SNAP, TANF, some Medicaid, are certified as homeless, migrant or are wards of the state (foster children). Households who are found to be directly certified will be notified in writing of the free or reduced-price meal status prior to the start of school and will not need to complete an application. Meal benefit applications will not be available until July 1. Applications received prior to July 1 will not be effective for the 2022-23 school year.

Households are encouraged to apply before the start of the school year to avoid unpaid meal charges. Students who are not approved for free or reduced-price meal benefits before the start of the school year will be classified as paid status and meal charges may begin to accumulate starting the first day of school. Meal charges accrued before the approval of a meal benefit application will be the responsibility of the household. Parents do not need to complete an application if they receive notification that their child(ren) are directly certified, if they know their household does not qualify for meal benefits. Parents are asked to ensure they have money in their child’s account on the first day of school.

Applications and more information can be found at https://wcsfoodandnutrition.org.