The El Paso Independent School District will begin its Free & Reduced-Price Meal program on Monday August 17 — the first day of classes — using updated guidelines for food distribution in place because of the COVID pandemic and virtual learning.
District officials say that students who qualify to receive either free or reduced-priced breakfast and lunch – or those who wish to buy meals — will continue to receive meals at distribution centers on every campus in the District.
“Virtual learning means we will distribute take-home meals for students who qualify for them, but it also means we will be implementing new guidelines for parents and students to follow as they pick up their meals,” said Laura Duran, EPISD’s Director of Food & Nutrition Services. “The most important one is the verification process that will guarantee that those students who are eligible for meals will receive them.”
Parents will be allowed to pick up the meals for children following a one-time verification process at the beginning of the year.
The District will verify eligibility and distribute meals from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting on Monday, Aug. 17 and through Wednesday, Aug. 19.
After that, lunch and next-day breakfast distribution will happen from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The one-time verification for eligible students will happen during the first week of school at the schools. EPISD Food Services employees will verify that eligible students are enrolled in school, and then provide parents with cards that will be used to ease the meal pick-up service through the virtual learning period.
Because of federal rules, parents must pick up meals for their children at the school in which they’re enrolled. If parents have children in more than one campus, the meals for each child must be picked up at the student’s respective school.
Parents of students enrolled in magnet or specialty programs may ask for a waiver to pick-up meals to their nearest school. To obtain the waiver, email the name of student, address, telephone number and the specialty program/school to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students in 61 schools in the District automatically qualify for free meals using the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To view a list of schools included in the CEP, click here.
Students in campuses not participating in the CEP program may still qualify for free or reducedpriced meals. However, parents with children at these schools must fill out a Free & Reduced-Price Meal Application to determine eligibility. Fill out and submit an application via this link.
Students on reduced-priced meals or who wish to buy meals from the Food Services Department must ensure that they have enough funds in their meal account in order to receive a meal.