Free & Reduced Price Meals
Elementary (K-6) Information
Children need healthy meals to learn. Mars Area School District offers healthy meals every school day.
The current cost is $1.25 for breakfast and $2.80 for lunch; however, your child(ren) may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. The reduced price is $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch.
Please review the following documents for more information on how to apply for Free & Reduced Price Meals:
Secondary (7-12) Information
Mars Area High School and Mars Area Middle School DO NOT participate in the National School Lunch Program. However, a District-operated program is available for secondary students (Grades 7-12) if their households meet the income eligibility requirements below.
For an application specific to the High School and/or Middle School meal program, click on the following:
If you required that either of the above applications be sent to you directly to your attention, please contact Mrs. Kris Barr at (724) 625-1518, ext. 1510, or [email protected]. An application will be sent home with your youngest child. If you have other questions or need additional assistance, call (724) 625-1518, ext. 1510.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Free & Reduced Price Meal application and program
- WHO CAN GET FREE OR REDUCED PRICE MEALS OR SPECIAL MILK?
- All children in households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp Program) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits are eligible for free meals.
- Foster children who are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.
- Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
- Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.
- Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household’s income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals if your household income falls at or below the limits on this chart.
- HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILDREN QUALIFY AS HOMELESS, MIGRANT, OR RUNAWAY?
Do the members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven’t been told your children will get free meals, contact Mrs. Kris Barr at (724) 625-1581 or [email protected].
- DO I NEED TO FILL OUT AN APPLICATION FOR EACH CHILD?
No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to Mrs. Kris Barr; Mars Area School District; 545 Route 228; Mars, PA 16046; or to any school cafeteria.
- SHOULD I FILL OUT AN APPLICATION IF I RECEIVED A LETTER THIS SCHOOL YEAR SAYING MY CHILDREN ARE ALREADY APPROVED FOR FREE MEALS?
No, but read the letter you received carefully and follow the instructions. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification letter, contact Mrs. Kris Barr at [email protected] or (724) 625-1518, ext. 1510, or any school cafeteria immediately.
- CAN I APPLY ONLINE?
Yes! You are encouraged to complete an online application instead of a paper application if you are able. The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application. Visit www.marsk12.org or visit the PA Department of Human Services website at www.compass.state.pa.us.
- MY CHILD’S APPLICATION WAS APPROVED LAST YEAR. DO I NEED TO FILL OUT A NEW ONE?
Yes. Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year.
- I GET WIC. CAN MY CHILDREN GET FREE MEALS?
Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. Send in an application.
- WILL THE INFORMATION THAT I GIVE BE CHECKED?
Yes. We may also ask you to send written proof of the household income you report.
- IF I DO NOT QUALIFY, MAY I APPLY LATER?
Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and or reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.
- WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH THE SCHOOL'S DECISION ABOUT MY APPLICATION?
You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by contacting Mrs. Cheryl Palermo at Mars Area School District; 545 Route 228; Mars, PA 16046; (724) 625-9030, ext. 1507, or [email protected].
- MAY I APPLY IF SOMEONE IN MY HOUSEHOLD IS NOT A U.S. CITIZEN?
Yes. You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced price meals.
- WHAT IF MY INCOME IS NOT ALWAYS THE SAME?
List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1,000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1,000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.
- WHAT IF SOME HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS HAVE NO INCOME TO REPORT?
Household members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the application, or may not receive income at all. Whenever this happens, write a "0" in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank, those will also be counted as zeroes. Be careful when leaving income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.
- WE ARE IN THE MILITARY. DO WE REPORT OUR INCOME DIFFERENTLY?
Your basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, or receive Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance payments, it must also be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income.
- WHAT IF THERE ISN’T ENOUGH SPACE ON THE APPLICATION FOR MY FAMILY?
List any additional household members on a separate piece of paper, and attach it to your application. Contact Mrs. Kris Barr at [email protected] or (724) 625-1518, ext. 1510, to obtain a second application.
- MY FAMILY NEEDS MORE HELP. ARE THERE OTHER PROGRAMS THAT WE MIGHT APPLY FOR?
To find out how to apply for SNAP or other assistance benefits, visit www.compass.state.pa.us contact your local assistance office, or call (800) 692-7462.
USDA Non-Discrimination Statement
To access the USDA Food & Nutrition Service Non-discrimination Statement, click on the following: