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California's Universal Free School Meals Program

California is the first state to offer universal free school meals to all public school students. Starting in the 2022-23 school year, Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) will provide two free meals (breakfast and lunch) per day to all students, regardless of their eligibility.

Applying for Free Meals

Although all students are eligible for free meals, we encourage parents to apply. Completing an application can bring significant additional funds to our schools and qualify students for individual benefits, such as discounts or waivers for college application fees, AP testing fees, internet services, summer programs, access to higher education scholarships, after-school club scholarships, holiday gifts, and many other learning and enrichment opportunities. You or your children do not have to be United States citizens to qualify.

How to Apply

  • Apply online at
  • Return a completed application form (available at all school sites and at the district office, or download here: English and Spanish) to Food Services, 25 Churchill Ave., Palo Alto CA 94306.

Changes to the Meal Program

Due to the increase in meal participation, some changes are necessary:

  • Second lunches will not be served.
  • Elementary students will no longer sign up for specific entrees in the classroom.
  • No cash transactions will be accepted. Parents of high school students who want to buy a la carte items may add funds to their students' accounts by paying online, giving checks to cafeteria cashiers, or mailing checks to Student Nutrition Services, 25 Churchill Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306.
  • Food Services will assess the menu monthly.

For more information please call Food Services at 650-329-3720.