School Lunch Program

The school food service program is operated under the Federally Funded National School Lunch Act of (1966), as amended. The federal laws regulating the school food service programs are administered by USDA and implemented with the State of Mississippi by the State Department of Education. The program's objective is to improve the health of students by providing well balanced, nutritious foods while at the same time enhancing nutrition education for the students.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:(1)Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) Email: This institution is an equal opportunity provider.



We serve approximately 6,500 lunches and 2,500 breakfasts daily. Menus for Jackson County Schools are designed to give Mississippi students appealing and healthful lunches. Students have the opportunity to enjoy lunches filled with a variety of food selections. Each day students in grades K-12 are offered choices of entrees, vegetables, fruit and breads. New foods are introduced to stimulate their taste buds and interest in school lunch while providing nutritious meals for academic achievement. The Offer Versus Serve provision is offered in all grades. This allows for students to decline meal items if they wish.

Meal Pattern Requirements

School Lunch Pattern - The school lunch pattern contains five components; (1) meat/meat alternate, (2) vegetable, (3) fruit, (4) bread/bread alternate and (5) milk.

School Breakfast Pattern - The school breakfast pattern contains a minimum of the following food components, (1) fruit/juice/vegetable, (2) milk, and (3) grain and (4) optional meat/meat alternative..

With the exception of water and milk products, a student may purchase individual components of the meal only if the full meal unit is being purchased and the item to be purchased is a component of the federal meal pattern. Students who bring a lunch from home may purchase water or milk products only.

Based on the obesity epidemic in our country, we are striving to serve healthier choices in the school cafeterias. We are offering more fruit/vegetable choices and less fried foods. We also offer Chef Salad or Yogurt Fruit Plates as Entrée choices during the week. Many foods that have been fried in the past are now baked. Administrators, parents, teachers and students are invited to view some of the Nutrition Links on our website for great ideas on becoming more physically and nutritionally fit.

All extra food sales in the cafeteria will now be items that are below 200 calories per item, that includes the sale of ice cream products. Desserts will not longer be offered on the menu everyday but as always we will have fresh fruit choices daily.

Collection Procedures  

A computer system is used in all cafeterias. The system provides each student with an account to be used to pay in advance for meals. This helps with accountability and will not openly identify those students who receive free or reduced price meals. Every student is issued a cafeteria number. After picking up their tray the student gives their number to the cashier who will record the meal in the computer. The student will then either pay cash for the meal or have the amount subtracted from their account.
Any extra food sale items must be paid for in cash.

On-line services are available. Parents may apply for Free and Reduced meals with faster, easier determination of benefits. My School Bucks is an online meal prepayment service which allows parents to prepay for students meals with a credit or debit card. Funds are immediately available for use. Both services can be accessed through the district website.

Food Service Charge Policy

Grades K-5 will be allowed to charge a maximum of five (5) meal charges at any given time. Grades 6-12 will be allowed to charge a maximum of one (1) meal charge at any given time. After the maximum charge is reached the student will be sent to the office to contact the parent/guardian. Parents will be sent a request for "Payment in Full". All charges not paid before the end of the school year will be carried forward into the next school year. Seniors must pay all charges before graduation.(School Board Policy EEDA)

All returned checks are handled by NexCheck.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are non-nutritious snacks available at school?

To ensure that students are not in the position of having to decide between non-nutritious and nutritious foods before or during meal service periods:  (1) No food items will be sold on the school campus or any elementary school before 1:00 PM of any school day.  High schools shall be allowed to have one break each morning and Middle/Jr. High Schools shall be allowed to have one break on Friday of each week, providing that such a break ends at least one hour before the serving period begins. (2) The school food service staff shall serve only those foods which are components of the approved federal meal patterns being served and such additional foods as necessary to meet the calorie requirements of the age group being served. (3) With the exception of milk and water products, a student may purchase individual components of the meal only if the full meal unit is being purchased and the item to be purchased is a component of the federal meal pattern.  An additional dessert item cannot be purchased at any time because dessert is not a component of the USDA meal pattern.  Adults are allowed to purchase individual components of the meal including desserts at the price approved by the School Board each school year. (4) Students who bring a lunch from home may purchase water and milk products.

Why are lunches sold at a price much lower than actual cost?

The School District receives federal and state funds for every student meal it serves. This reimbursement makes up the difference between what the lunch costs to produce and what the student pays.The amount of federal reimbursement paid per lunch depends on the economic need of the student.


Why are adult meals priced higher than student meals?

No reimbursement or commodities are received for adult meals.  Food Service is not allowed to absorb this difference in cost.  The difference in cost must be covered by a higher price to the adult.  A child purchasing a second meal would be charged the price of an adult meal due to the fact that only one meal per child can be claimed for reimbursement. 


Why should my child buy lunch at school?

In the school lunch program, students learn good nutrition habits that provide a basis for better health throughout their lives. School lunches contain a variety of foods and offer students exposure to new foods. The school lunch program assures that your child is receiving a nutritionally balanced meal. Variety is easier to achieve through school meals rather than sack lunches.


How do I apply for meal benefits?

Free/Reduced applications are provided to students during online school registration or you may pick up a paper application from the school office. The Food Service Department has implemented an Online system to apply for Free and Reduced Meals. This new system will provide faster, easier benefit determination. Families can apply online at any time with complete privacy and convenience. Benefits can be applied for through the Online School Registration process or by visiting the school district web site Eligibility for free and reduced price meal is not retroactive, school meals must be paid for until the free and reduced application is approved. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Free & Reduced Eligibility Clerk at 228-826-2133, ext. 1204. 


Who do I contact if I have questions about the food service program?

We are always glad to have parents involved in the planning, merchandising and service of school meals, as well as, in nutrition education.  If you are interested in finding out more about your  school's food service program, contact:


Lark Christian,  Food Service Director

Jackson County Schools

Post Office Box 5127

Vancleave , Mississippi 39565-5127

Phone: (228) 826-2133

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