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The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946.
Menu Planning Tools:
State of Maine Meal Pattern Resources:
Meal Pattern Production Records:
Federal Guidance Regarding the Meal Pattern:
Smart Snacks In Schools (Competitive Foods)
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does this include early release days? Yes it is considered a school day.
What about Saturday if school is operating? If it is a required school day for all students then lunch will be offered.
Is the NSLP offered if a school allows students to obtain bag lunch after dismissal to take home? A self serve /bag lunch is not acceptable as a reimbursable meal to take home. National School Lunch Meals are intended to be consumed in the school. There are exceptions to bag lunches for special events. Contact the State Agency for guidance and approval. (FNS 786-8)
During mid-terms and finals if a high school only requires students to be in attendance to the extent of their exams and exams are two sessions in the morning, does offering lunch after the second exam meet the requirement? The meal is offered, therefore the student can chose to leave or take part in the program. The lunch time should be scheduled as close to the regular time as possible.
What about field trips, community service days, freshman awareness program, and other programs conducted off campus? Is the school required to offer lunches to these students? Students that are off campus at a school sponsored/structured event are still eligible to participate in the NSLP. As long as the meals met the meal pattern requirements and is served as part of the school structured event. The events listed in this question would qualify as a school structured event in that the students are the responsibility of the school until they get back on campus or are released at a certain time from the events. (FNS 786-8)
Does this include High School? What about early release because of inclement weather? Yes it includes High School. In many cases the food is being prepared when early release is determined. So ye,s the students should be fed. However if it becomes a real safety issue other arrangements will need to be made. Keep in mind this is a huge financial loss to the program because product and labor will be wasted.
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