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ON THE MENU: Information about school nutrition

ON THE MENU: School nutrition information for the 2022-2023 academic year

School Nutrition Information for 2022-2023 School Year.Enjoying nutritious meals is an important part of the school day.  Gaston County Schools is proud of its school nutrition program and the hundreds of employees who work each day to prepare well-balanced meals for students.

Here is a look at school nutrition information for the 2022-2023 academic year.  Parents and their children are encouraged to review the information carefully.  

And, remember, the first day of school for students is Wednesday, August 17.

What is included in a school meal?
A breakfast meal includes an entree made with grain and/or protein, fat-free or 1% milk, and fruit and/or juice (limit of one juice per meal).  A lunch meal includes an entree made with grain and/or protein, fat-free or 1% milk, vegetable, and fruit.  

What is the cost for meals?
Breakfast is $1.40 for students (all grade levels) and $2.00 for adults. Lunch is $2.90 for students in grades K-5 and $3.00 for students in grades 6-12.  The price for adults is $4.00.  There is no charge for students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals (the 40 cents charge for reduced-price meals has been waived).    

A la carte items are available for purchase on an individual basis. 

Why aren’t meals free like the past two years?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government made breakfast and lunch meals available free-of-charge for all students during the past two school years.  The free meals ended June 30, and Congress did not renew the program.  Therefore, meal prices are in effect this year.

What about the CEP schools?
There are 19 schools that qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program.  All students at schools involved in the CEP program receive meals free-of-charge.  Students who attend one of the following schools do not have to pay for breakfast and lunch and do not have to fill out an application for free or reduced-price meals.

▪ H.H. Beam Elementary
▪ Bessemer City Central Elementary
▪ Bessemer City Middle
▪ Bessemer City Primary
▪ Brookside Elementary
▪ Carr Elementary
▪ Chapel Grove Elementary
▪ Gardner Park Elementary
▪ Grier Middle
▪ Lingerfeldt Elementary 
▪ North Belmont Elementary
▪ Pleasant Ridge Elementary
▪ Sadler Elementary
▪ Southwest Middle
▪ Springfield Elementary
▪ Tryon Elementary
▪ Warlick Academy
▪ Woodhill Elementary
▪ York Chester Middle

How do parents apply for free or reduced-price meals?
Parents with a child at a non-CEP school (see list above) are encouraged to apply to receive free or reduced-price meals.  Eligibility is based on household income and the number of people in the household.  The application (in paper format) can be picked up from the school office or school cafeteria or at the School Nutrition Office, 500 Reid Street, Lowell.  The application (in electronic format) can be completed by clicking here

How do parents pay for their child’s meals?
Cash, checks, and money orders are acceptable forms of payment in school cafeterias.  Parents wishing to pay by credit or debit card may click here to set up an account on the new Titan family portal.

Students/parents who used the online portal last year will need to create an account in the new Titan system for this year.  Any balances from last school year will be rolled over to the new system.  

What if my child has a special dietary need?
If a student has a special dietary need and/or the need for a unique meal time, parents should complete a diet order form; the form must be signed by a recognized medical authority.  Contact the school cafeteria manager, the school nurse, or the School Nutrition Office, 500 Reid Street, Lowell, for a diet order form or click here to download it from the Gaston County Schools website.

Please note that students who have had a diet order form on file in the past are being asked to complete a new form this year.  The new form will be in effect until the school receives written or verbal notification from the parent or recognized medical authority that the diet order is no longer needed.

Here are a few school nutrition reminders for parents and students:

▪ To receive a meal for the established price, students must take at least three of the five items that make up a lunch meal and at least two of the items that make up a breakfast meal (one of the items must be a fruit or a vegetable).  Otherwise, students will have to pay individually for the items they have selected.

▪ Charging meals is an option for students in elementary school and middle school on a limited basis.  Students in elementary school and middle school who do not have money and have exceeded the charge limit may receive a complimentary alternate meal upon request.  Charging meals is not allowed at the high school level.  High school students who do not have money may also request a complimentary alternate meal.

▪ Water is available for students at no charge and without restriction when meals are being served at school.

▪ Each cafeteria staff strives to provide well-balanced meals for students and staff.  Meals are prepared using state and federal guidelines to ensure they are healthy and meet dietary requirements.  Parents who have a question or concern about meals served in the cafeteria should contact the school principal for information.

Did You Know?
Angela Calamia, director of school nutrition, was chosen as the Administrator of the Year for Gaston County Schools.  The honor recognizes Calamia for her outstanding leadership and dedication to the school nutrition program.  Click here
to learn more about our “Of the Year” winners for 2022-2023.  

More Info
For more information about school nutrition, please contact the school principal, click here to visit the school nutrition webpage on the Gaston County Schools website, or call the School Nutrition Office, (704) 836-9110.