All students in Humble ISD will receive free meals this next school year.

Due to a decision made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Humble ISD recently announced that all students attending Humble ISD will be eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch for the duration of the 2021-2022 school year.

“The USDA decided to continue the waivers that were put in place during the pandemic, meaning that all students in Humble ISD will receive free breakfast and lunch next school year as long as the meal they are receiving meets the requirements as set forth by the USDA,” said Christopher Guillory, news and information specialist for Humble ISD.

According to Guillory, “Students will be able to try completely redesigned menus at all grade levels. In secondary schools, Humble ISD has moved to more made-to-order options whereby the students will be able to customize their meal by adding a variety of cheeses, toppings and sauces. We have also expanded our offerings of sandwiches, salads and wraps to provide more variety across the district for all grade levels.”

While no application or eligibility determination is required for a student to receive free meals this school year, Guillory specified that it is still critical for families to apply for free and reduced meals.

“This important data allows Humble ISD families to receive benefits such as discounted internet costs, reduced fees for SAT/ACT testing, help with college application fees, potential eligibility if P-EBT benefits are offered in the future, as well as maximizing important state and federal funding for individual schools,” said Guillory.

“Applications are provided online at schoolcafe.com. Families will need to set up an account and then apply for free/reduced meals. Paper applications are available at the Child Nutrition Services Department located at 1705 Wilson Road, Building D. Households must reapply annually in order to be eligible for free or reduced priced meals. A letter notifying families of the eligibility determination will be sent to both the family’s mailing address and email address. For further information, call 281-641- 8460,” added Guillory.

In addition to having free meals, there will be exciting new menu options for students, including nachos for high schoolers, sandwich bars for middle schoolers and salad options for elementary students.

“Expanded menu options at high schools and middle schools have a new layout for presentation along the serving line as food choices are grouped into serving stations allowing students to customize their selections for a true made-to-order experience,” said Guillory.

A sandwich station offers choices of breads, deli meats and cheeses, condiments and fresh vegetables, as sandwiches are made-to-order. Another area offers a selection of chef-prepared salads and fresh fruit. A Tex-Mex station offers cheese enchiladas, burritos, made-to-order nachos, Mexican rice, refried beans and custom-made soft tacos with ground beef, chicken fajita, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and choice of salsa. Another station features “comfort foods” like mashed potatoes topped with popcorn chicken and cream gravy, fries, mixed vegetables, baked potatoes and made-to-order burgers. A pizza bar features a variety of freshly made pizzas on whole wheat crust.

High schools will have an additional themed menu concept every Tuesday and Thursday with one made-to-order option from Asian, Italian, tossed wings, mashed potato bowl or baked potato. Food choices for elementary students will be more focused, with three daily options based on the popularity of menu items while also including healthier choices like fresh salads.

The superintendent’s student advisory council provided input on the need to change school meals for breakfast and lunch and presented its findings to district leadership.

“These new changes are great steps forward for Humble ISD as a whole. Feeling energized after a fulfilling meal will really help encourage the climate in a teaching environment,” said Hillary Mac, council member and HHS student.

“They really listened to what matters to us when it comes to school food options,” said Jenna Watson, another council member and AHS student.

“Many students would bring their own lunch due to the lack of interest in the choices. The new options are really exciting and are a game changer,” said Bryce Hobbs, a council member and AHS student.

For context, in 2020, Philadelphia-based Aramark Corporation began overseeing school meal operations for the district with the intention of revamping menus and options for students. “All Humble ISD child nutrition staff members remained employed with the district. Aramark manages the design of the district’s food service operations. Humble ISD employees staff food service operations,” concluded Guillory.

For more information on this subject manner, visit fns.usda.gov/cn/child-nutrition-response-84.

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