Empire Gardens Elementary
Empire Gardens Elementary

Meal Program

At San José Unified, we believe student nutrition is a key component of a well-rounded education. We constantly strive to meet the nutritional needs of our students while ensuring our schools promote a healthy and active learning environment.

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Meal Payments

The Online Meal Application for 2019-2020 is now available.

Please be advised that you must submit a new application every school year.  Meal status from the previous year (2018-2019) will expire on September 25, 2019.

We encourage families to use the MySchoolBucks online prepayment system to pay for your student’s meals. MySchoolBucks is a safe, simple, and secure way to make payments to your student’s meals account. There is no additional cost to you, and funds are available the same day you deposit them. As an added incentive, for every 10 meals you purchase, you will receive a bonus meal!


If you have any questions or need help setting up a MySchoolBucks account, please call at (855) 832-5226.

NO student will be denied a meal due to lack of funds in their account. Students who forget their money for lunch or breakfast (if applicable at your school site) or their account balance runs out of funds, will be able to receive a full meal. Balances owed will be communicated to the parent or guardian every 10 days through the mail.

Cashless Meal Lines

Beginning in the Fall of 2017, San José Unified will introduce “cashless” breakfast and lunch lines in all of our schools. Our goal is to move to a completely cashless system by January 2018.

We understand this transition may cause an inconvenience. That’s why you will still be able to prepay for meals with cash or check, if needed. Here’s how:

Elementary students (Grades TK-5) – You may bring money to the school office or send it with your student to give to their teacher. Please put the cash or check in an envelope that is clearly marked with the following information:

  • Student name
  • Student ID number
  • Amount enclosed
  • Check number (Please make checks payable to: “SJUSD Food Services”)
  • Date of payment

You can also pick up a meal envelope at your school office. Please note that no cash or checks will be accepted on the meal line.

Secondary students (Grades 6-12) – There will be one line designated at each school site to accept both prepayments and cash.


Summer Meals Programs

Summer can be a difficult time for families struggling to make ends meet because their children no longer have access to the free and reduced-price meals they receive at school. That’s why San José Unified partners each year with Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Benito Counties to provide a federally-funded summer meals program at our schools.

Please see this flyer for a calendar of free meals that will be available at 13 of our schools beginning June 10, 2019.

Childhood hunger is a serious problem, even in Silicon Valley. Studies show that kids who don’t get enough to eat suffer emotional and physical effects that can hamper their ability to succeed in school and later in life. They are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, lack of concentration, illness, and obesity.

Second Harvest provides food to more than 100,000 children a month, and they partner with more than 330 agencies to provide food at more than 770 sites, including schools, youth programs, summer camps, pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Some sites also offer free breakfast and an afternoon snack. The meals are provided through the federal Summer Food Service Program.

Families can call Second Harvest’s Food Connection multilingual hotline at (800) 984-3663 to learn about other food assistance programs, including CalFresh.


Free and Reduced-Price Meals

Each year, all of our families are asked to complete and return an application to qualify for our Free and Reduced-Price Meals program (FRPM). Regardless of your family’s income or student’s grade level, please complete and return the FRPM application. This will ensure that students have access to all available resources the district can provide.

AP/IB Exam Discount

When you complete and return the annual FRPM application, the cost of all AP and/or IB exams for your student(s) will be reduced to $5. This offer is available regardless of household income or FRPM program eligibility.