Apply Now for 2016-2017 Free or Reduced-Priced Meals Status: Temporary Status Expires Monday, Oct. 10
Wicomico County Public Schools families seeking Free or Reduced-Price Meal Status (FARMS) for the 2016-2017 school year are encouraged to apply prior to Monday, Oct. 10, the date on which the school system can no longer grant temporary FARMS status to students based on last year’s application.
On that date, any student who currently has a temporary meals status (Temporary Free or Temporary Reduced-Price) and has not had an application processed for this school year will revert to full pay status. Currently there are approximately 1,800 Wicomico County students with a temporary status.
“Our schools and cafeteria staff want to minimize the potential impact to a student’s lunch experience, should a student’s status still be temporary on Monday. For the first few weeks of this school year, students have been able to use their Free and Reduced Meal status from last year to cover some or all of the cost of breakfast and lunch. As of Monday, this temporary privilege will no longer be offered, so parents and guardians should take care of this important application as soon as possible,” said Eric Goslee, Director of Food and Nutrition Services.
In Wicomico Schools, more than 61.6% of students qualify for Free and Reduced Meals Status. That’s six out of every 10 students who qualify for financial assistance for meals based on family income. The FARMS application process helps determine which students are eligible to receive Free (8,400 students) and Reduced (677 students) Meals Status to ensure they have access to nutritious meals while at school.
Beginning this school year, the Wicomico County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services Department offers parents and guardians the choice to apply online for Free and Reduced-Price Meals Status. The Free and Reduced Meals benefits application can be found online by clicking on the Free and Reduced Meals button on the home page of the Wicomico County Public Schools website, www.wcboe.org. By submitting online, parents and guardians can make the application process less time-consuming, and applications will be processed in a more timely fashion. The application includes all students in a household, so only one application is needed.
“For the first time this year we are offering an online application process that’s very quick and easy,” Goslee said. “Families can also pick up a paper application at school, fill it out completely including signature, and return it to the school office.”
Regardless of which application method they use, parents and guardians who apply will be notified of a student’s eligibility for Free and Reduced Meal status. That status is based on family income, family size, and other factors.
A student who participates or has family members who participate in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA), may have been automatically identified and does not need to apply. Please note that students also do not need to apply if they attend schools with the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program that provides free breakfast and lunch to all of a school’s students. Wicomico CEP schools are Charles H. Chipman Elementary, Glen Avenue Elementary and Prince Street Elementary. However, if there are siblings in other schools in the county, they do need to submit an application if they wish to apply for FARMS, and the application must include the name of any student in the family who is at a CEP school.
Parents or guardians with questions or concerns about their student’s meal or application status may contact the Food and Nutrition Services office at 410-677-4419.