We need your help! For the past two summers we have been able to provide thousands of meals for our children at no cost to them or their families. As we begin to plan for this summer’s free lunch program we are finding that the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch may hinder our ability to qualify for this vital service.
The percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch is used as a qualifying statistic to get the funding necessary to run the program. Currently we have 47% of our grade school students, 48% of our middle school students, and 35% of our high school students who have applied and been approved for this money saving program. We need 50% in at least one of our schools to qualify. This means we only need 6 more elementary or 2 more middle school students to help us reach this goal.
Application to the program is totally confidential and can bring with it other money saving benefits as well. There are only three people in the district qualified to know whether your family is on this program or not, two in the district office who processes the applications, and the one who checks students at mealtime. The district has a long-standing policy of adjusting student fees such as our pay-to-play fees, for those who qualify, but ONLY if the parents want this to happen, as this allows one other person access to the information.
What we are asking is that you take a moment to review the following income guidelines to determine if your family is eligible. Even if you choose to keep the information confidential and not participate in the free or reduced lunch or reduced fees, you can help all of the students throughout the summer and in other areas as well if we meet the 50% qualifying threshold.
Twice Per Month
Every Two Weeks
By the way, studies have shown that students who eat from the National School Lunch Program are more likely to eat more vegetables, drink more milk and fewer sweetened drinks, and eat fewer cookies and salty snacks than students who make other lunch choices.
It is important to note that this data is not only used to impact the summer lunch program it also helps our schools qualify for other grants and programs that can directly impact all students in the district. I would ask that you please consider filling out an application or at least calling the district office for more information.
To apply for the program you can use the new online version of the Oregon Confidential Family Application for Free and Reduced‐Price Meals (https://district.ode.state.or.us/apps/frlapp/default.aspx) or you can get an application from the school or the new district office at 1201 Texas Avenue. A link to the online application is on our District website (www.vernonia.k12.or.us). If you have questions about completing the application, or would like a copy sent to you by mail, please contact Barb Carr in the district office 503-429-5891 and she will provide the help you need.
Completing the application only takes a few moments and one application takes care of all your children no matter which school they attend. Please help us continue the summer lunch program and qualify for additional ways to support our students by taking the time to see if you qualify.