Press Release: Meals free for all students for 2021-2022 school year

Press Release: Meals free for all students for 2021-2022 School Year
Posted on 07/22/2021
Press Release: Meals free for all students for 2021-2022 School Year


Pasadena Independent School District announced its policy today that this school year, healthy meals will be offered every school day to all students at no cost. Typically, a student’s household must meet income eligibility requirements to qualify for free or reduced-price meals. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued guidance that allows schools to offer meals to all students at no cost for the 2021-2022 school year.

While no application or eligibility determination is required for your student to receive free meals this school year, income eligibility requirements will likely resume in the 2022-2023 school year. As such, Nutrition Services will process household applications during School Year 2021-2022 to ensure student eligibility for free or reduced-price meals during the first 30 days of the 2022-2023 school year while 2022-2023 applications are being processed. Each school/site or central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed upon request.

Starting on August 3, Nutrition Services will have the online application system and paper applications available. To apply online, visit  The process is safe, secure and fast.  If needed, instructions are available in Spanish by selecting that option on the upper right side of the first screen.  Once an online application is completed, it communicates to Nutrition Services office the same day.  Applications in English and Spanish are also available in Nutrition Services at 1515 Cherrybrook Lane, Pasadena, TX  77502.

Criteria for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits to Start School Year 2022-2023
The following criteria will be used to determine a child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits at the beginning of School Year 2022-2023:


1) Household income that is at or below the income eligibility levels

Categorical or Automatic Eligibility

2) Household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

Program Participant

3) Child’s status as a foster child, homeless, runaway, migrant, or displaced by a declared disaster

4) Child’s enrollment in Head Start or Even Start

Income Eligibility
For those households that qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on income, an adult in the household must complete the free and reduced-price meal application and return it to Mary Harryman, Director of Nutrition Services at 1515 Cherrybrook, Pasadena, TX  77502. Those individuals filling out the application will need to provide the following information:

1) Names of all household members

2) Amount, frequency, and source of current income for each household member

3) Last 4 digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application or, if the adult does not have a social security number, check the box for “No Social Security number”

4) Signature of an adult household member attesting that the information provided is correct

Directly Certified Categorical or Program Eligibility
Nutrition Services is working with local agencies to identify all children who are categorically and program eligible. Nutrition Services will notify the households of these children that they do not need to complete an application. Any household that does not receive a letter and feels it should have should contact Blanca Banda, Secretary of Nutrition Services at 713-740-0146.

Any household that wishes to decline benefits should contact Blanca Banda, Secretary of Nutrition Services at 713-740-0146. Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used to determine eligibility.

Applications may also be verified by the school officials at any time during the school year.

Determining Eligibility
Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, Blanca Banda, Secretary of Nutrition Services will review applications and determine eligibility. Households or guardians dissatisfied with the Reviewing Official’s eligibility determination may wish to discuss the decision with the Reviewing Official on an informal basis. Households wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to Carla Merka, Chief Financial Officer at 713-740-0146.

Unexpected Circumstances

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the attached current income eligibility guidelines.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:,  and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: [email protected]. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Income Guidelines
Application Instructions - English