Free & Reduced-Price Meals


Children need healthy meals to learn. This school year, Pasadena Independent School District Nutrition Services can offer healthy meals 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, to establish eligibility for free or reduced-price meals for the 2022-2023 school year, please complete an application for free or reduced-price meals this school year.  Please note that if you received a notification letter that a child is directly certified for free or reduced-price meals, do not complete an application.  Let Nutrition Services know if any children in the household attending school are not listed in the letter.

The questions and answers that follow and attached directions provide additional information on how to complete the application.  Complete only one application for all the students in the household and return the completed application to Mary Harryman, Director of Nutrition Services, 1515 Cherrybrook, Pasadena, TX  77502.  If you have questions about applying for free or reduced-price meals call Blanca Banda at 713-740-0146 or 713-740-0093 or email at [email protected].

Apply online! The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application.  Visit to begin or to learn more about the online application process.

1. WHO QUALIFIES FOR FREE MEAL STATUS?  •	Income–Children can get free or reduced-price meals if a household’s gross income is within the limits described in the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.  •	Special Assistance Program Participants–Children in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Distribution Program for Households on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), are eligible for free meals.  •	Foster–Foster children who are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.  •	Head Start or Early Head Start–Children participating in these programs are eligible for free meals.  •	Homeless, Runaway and Migrant–Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway or migrant qualify for free meals. If you haven’t been told about a child’s status as homeless, runaway or migrant or you feel a child may qualify for one of these programs, please call the homeless liaison or migrant coordinator at 713-740-0216 or 713-740-0210.  •	WIC Recipient–Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. 2. WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH THE SCHOOL’S DECISION ABOUT MY APPLICATION? Talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to Carla Merka, Chief Financial Officer, 1515 Cherrybrook, Pasadena, TX  77502, 713-740-0146. 3. WHAT IF MY INCOME IS NOT ALWAYS THE SAME? List the amount normally received.  If a household member lost a job or had hours/wages reduced, use current income. 4. IF I DON’T QUALIFY NOW, MAY I APPLY LATER? Yes.  Apply at any time during the school year.  A child with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced-price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

5. WE ARE IN THE MILITARY.  DO WE REPORT OUR INCOME DIFFERENTLY? Basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income.  Any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, or Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance payments count as income.  If housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include the housing allowance as income.  Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is excluded from income. 6. 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. 7. WILL APPLICATION INFORMATION BE CHECKED? Yes. We may also ask you to send written proof of the reported household income. 8. MY FAMILY NEEDS MORE HELP.  ARE THERE OTHER PROGRAMS WE MIGHT APPLY FOR? To find out how to apply for other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or 2-1-1. 9. CAN I APPLY ONLINE? Yes! The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application.  Visit to begin or to learn more about the online application process.  Contact Blanca Banda at 713-740-0146 or 713-740-0093 if you have questions about the online application.

The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information on this application. You do not have to give the information, but if you do not, we cannot approve your child for free or reduced price meals.  You must include the last four digits of the social security number of the adult household member who signs the application.  The last four digits of the social security number is not required when you apply on behalf of a foster child or you list a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) case number or other FDPIR identifier for your child or when you indicate that the adult household member signing the application does not have a social security number.  We will use your information to determine if your child is eligible for free or reduced-price meals and for administration and enforcement of the lunch and breakfast programs.  We MAY share your eligibility information with education, health and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules.

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.