Thousands of students and families rely on the Free and Reduced Meal Program offered by Tulsa Public Schools. Without it, many children would go hungry, but the deadline to apply is quickly approaching.
Nine-year-old Ely Bloss is a fourth grader at Disney Elementary School. Today, he is having lunch with his mother who will often drop by to spend time with her son. Ely is one of thousands of students who qualify for the free and reduced program at TPS.
"It's a stress relief and I don't have to worry about him eating lunch or me coming up with the money to pay for the lunch,” says his mother Kim Bloss.
She often worries about not being able to provide the nutrition that a growing boy needs. When we asked her about the program, her emotions got the best of her.
"You just feel bad as a parent if you can't feed your child you know,” she says.
Thankfully, Ely and other students have a way to not go hungry.
Last year alone, four out of five TPS students were enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. The district has seen a considerable rise in the number of students enrolled in the program. In 2004, over 76% of students were taking part. Those numbers increased to over 84% during the 2011-2012 school year.
"I can't even explain how important it is to me and how much it's helped me out,” says Bloss.
The deadline is quickly approaching and you have until October 1st to submit your application. They can be picked up at any Tulsa Public School site. Or you can visit www.tulsaschools.org.
TPS says students who received free or reduced-priced meals last year will continue to receive benefits until Sept. 17 for continuous learning schools and Oct. 1 for traditional schools.
In order to continue receiving free or reduced price meals this school year, another application must be completed and approved by the Child Nutrition office. Parents are encouraged to fill out an application online
. Applications are also available at all Tulsa Public Schools cafeterias, TPS’ Ross facility at 8934 E. Latimer St. and at the Education Service Center at 3027 S. New Haven Ave.
If a new application is not submitted and approved, meals will be charged at the following rates after the dates listed above:
•Elementary breakfast: $1.10
•Elementary lunch: $1.95
•Secondary school breakfast: $1.10
•Secondary school lunch: $2.45
Students participating in the program not only benefit physically and nutritionally, but educationally as well, school districts receive additional funding for educational purposes based on the number of students approved for free or reduced price meals.
For more information, visit www.tulsaschools.org/meal_applications.