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School Districts offering free meals with help of California’s Universal Meals Program

As students head back to school, families may have questions when it comes to their students' meals.

All students throughout Coachella Valley's public schools will now have access to free meals.

Desert Sands Unified School District is the latest district to provide free meals to all students.

Head of Nutrition Services, Daniel Cappello says the meals will be available to families regardless of income.

This change was made with the help of California's new 'Universal Meals' program. You can learn more about the program here.

"The state is actually going to offset any expenses for everyone to have free meals. Those 30% that would have been paid meals, they'll be free, and the state will pick up the tab for that. We're very, very excited and thankful for that," says Cappello.

Cappello adds that families will no longer have to fill out the free and reduced lunch application.

Palm Springs Unified School District has been providing free meals for students for four years now, with the help of federal assistance.

Coachella Valley Unified School District has also been offering free meals.

Community Engagement Manager, Lisette Santiago says the district is rolling out a new 'Farm to Table' program that was piloted back in May.

"Every school site will have access to locally grown produce, whether it's fruits, vegetables, anything that's in season, all of our school sites will have access to," says Santiago.

The kitchen staff for each school in CVUSD will then decide what fruits and vegetables to give students.

You can find the full menu for DSUSD's meals here.

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Bianca Ventura

Bianca Ventura joined KESQ News Channel 3 as a reporter in February 2022.
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