Despite Free Meals, Whittier Tech Encourages Families to Complete Meal Benefit Applications

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. (Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

Although school meals are free this year in Massachusetts, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School is encouraging families to complete a Meal Benefit Application.

Applications may help connect families to additional benefits and the data also supports allocation of additional state money for the pilot school meal program.

Whittier Tech is participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. As part of these programs, the school offers healthy meals every school day. The state legislature set aside money to make meals available at no cost to all students during this school year regardless of household income.

In past years, qualifications for children to receive free or reduced-price meals include belonging to a household whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines; belonging to a household that receives public assistance; or if the child is homeless, migrant, runaway, foster or participates in a Head Start or Even Start pre-K program.

Households may fill out applications and return them to the school. Forms are being sent to all households with a letter informing households of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for their children and what information is required. Applications also are available at offices of principals, guidance, business and on the school’s website.

Only one application is required for all children in the household and the information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verification of data.

Families may apply for benefits at any time. 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 Federal Guidelines. Families may contact Tammy D’Entremont at 978-373-4101, ext. 218, or e-mail at [email protected] to request an application.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, the Comptroller will review applications and determine eligibility.  Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling may make a formal appeal either orally or in writing to Chris Laganas,  Whittier Tech, 115 Amesbury Line Road, Haverhill, or call 978-373-4101 ext. 228.

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