Local & National Food Support for PASD Students

Local & National Food Support for PASD Students
Posted on 08/23/2022
Local & National Food Support for PASD Students

Free Meals

All students in the Port Angeles School District (PASD) will receive free breakfast and lunch, starting this fall.

PASD is participating in a National School Lunch and Breakfast Program called Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The USDA manages this program, allowing all students attending school in person to receive breakfast and lunch at no charge through the 2026 school year.

While Port Angeles School District participates in CEP, families will not fill out Free and Reduced Meal Applications this year. However, it is critical that families provide income information by filling out a new Family Income Survey. The state funds many of the District’s education programs and bases funding levels on income information reported by families. Depending on household incomes, families may also be eligible for additional benefits, such as waived fees. Families should receive the survey in the mail with their district calendar and packet of information, or paper copies are available at school buildings. Families can drop off completed surveys at each school building or the district office located at 905 W 9th St, Port Angeles, WA 98363.

“In the Port Angeles School District, 62% of students are eligible for meal benefits, which puts the district at a level that allows all students to benefit from CEP,” said Marty Brewer, Superintendent of the Port Angeles School District. “With inflation causing food costs to rise, this is a big win for each family in our school community.”

Outside of school, there are other programs supporting families in Clallam County such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Market Match program. This program matches funds so that families with EBT and P-EBT accounts can double their benefits (up to at least $40 per account per day) when shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables at Port Angeles and Sequim Farmers Markets and the Wild Edge Farm Stand in Port Angeles. This means that for every $40 spent at the farmers market, SNAP shoppers can take home $80 worth of produce! “This is a great way to stretch your budget while supporting local farmers and enjoying fresh food that is truly tastier and longer lasting than store-bought produce,” said Danielle Carson, the SNAP-Ed and Community Health Program Coordinator with WSU Clallam County Extension.

Another program called “Friday Food Bags” through the Port Angeles Food Bank allows students to take home meals or snacks for the weekend or when school is out during the winter and spring breaks. Families can sign up for this program at one of the school offices now that buildings are open. Last year, this program provided over 8,100 food bags for students in our region, and the Port Angeles Food Bank plans to deliver 11,000 food bags for the 2022/23 school year. Community donations fund the Friday Food and Break Bag program. Volunteers assemble the food bags and bring them to schools on Thursdays. School staff hand out the bags before students leave school on Friday afternoons. In addition to the weekend bags, the Port Angeles Food Bank also offers Break Bags for families over winter and spring breaks. “These bags are full of fresh produce and other groceries in hopes to relieve a bit of the food cost burden while the children are at home over breaks,” said Alexi Nelson, Development Coordinator for the Port Angeles Food Bank. A fundraiser for the Friday Food Bag program called “Empty Bowls” is on Saturday, September 10th, at the new food bank facility in Port Angeles, featuring a new market! To learn more, visit: https://secure.givelively.org/event/port-angeles-food-bank/empty-bowls-2022

This summer, free meals for kids and teens were made available by the Boys & Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula, which sponsored a Summer Food Service Program. Each day, volunteers and Boys & Girls Club employees hand out approximately 200 lunches a day. This program is made possible by the Washington Summer Food Service program, which provides nutritious meals to children who usually receive free or reduced price meals when school is in session. This program helps children maintain a healthy diet and allows their families to stretch their food dollars during summer. "Our free summer meals program is open to all families. We don't ask for any paperwork—kids can just drop in and grab a meal," said Ashley Woolsey, Compliance & Safety Officer for the Boys & Girls Club of the Olympic Peninsula. "We also offer fun activities that help kids stay active and engaged when school is out." This program works with local volunteers and service club members to help transport the food to local sites. Volunteers are paired with local teens hired to help distribute the food to six locations in Port Angeles and five in Sequim. The volunteers transport the teenagers to food distribution sites and have a chance to connect with the local youth. At the end of the summer, the teens receive a $500 gift certificate to purchase back-to-school supplies or help with any other needs they might have. The Nor'Wester Rotary Club of Port Angeles was a local sponsor of this program. Donated funds from this service club will go towards gift certificates for the hired teenagers who worked throughout the summer months. "By August 30, this program will distribute more than 11,200 meals throughout Port Angeles and Sequim," stated Woolsey. 

“With so many resources in our region, students and families have numerous ways to stay well fed and focused on school,” furthered Superintendent Brewer. “We hope families utilize these great resources in our school district and community.”