Students at schools participating in CEP are eligibile for free meals and do not need to apply for Free and Reduced-price Meals (FARMS). Students at non-CEP schools may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on household size and income. They may also qualify if they are receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA), or Medicaid benefits. Families may apply for meal benefits by completing an Application for Free and Reduced-price Meals for the current school year.
Students who qualify for reduced-price meals will eat for free!
Vea aquí un vídeo paso a paso en español sobre cómo completar la solicitud de FARMS.
Online applications are available now for Free and Reduced-price Meals for the 2023-2024 school year. Questions? Please call 240-740-7400.
Meal benefit eligibility from last school year will remain current only through the first 30 scheduled school days OR until a 2023-2024 application is processed.
Montgomery County public schools serve breakfast and lunch every school day. If your total household income is the same or less than the amounts on the Income Chart below, your child may qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
Students in households participating in Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-priced meals
The following students qualify for free meals:
|for each additional family member, add
The main phone number for the Division of Food and Nutrition Services is 240-740-7400. This phone number is also for calls related to the Free and Reduced-price Meals program. You may also contact us via email at DFNSOffice@mcpsmd.org.
The Division of Food and Nutrition Services is charged with keeping the eligibility of each student confidential. We may not disclose individual student eligibility to anyone except the student's parents, guardians, or cafeteria managers. School lunch lines are designed to maintain confidentiality by using student ID numbers. By using this system, there is no way for any student to know if a classmate’s lunch account is being charged or if the student is receiving a free meal.
Yes, households must apply every year to determine if they are eligible for the FARMS program. Federal income guidelines change each year, and most household situations likely change each year.
To avoid interruption in meal benefits while new applications are processed, student eligibility is carried over temporarily from the previous school year until the new application can be processed in September of the new school year. Once the new application is processed, the eligibility that is determined will be in effect.
Students/families may request a paper application at any MCPS school.
Yes. Currently, we are using a family/household application, therefore all children must be listed on one application.
A paper application may be completed and returned to any MCPS school or returned directly to the Division of Food and Nutrition Services in person or via U.S. Mail for processing.
The information provided online or via paper application is entered into a meal application system and an Action-Taken Notice is printed and mailed to the address of record for the student. This notifies the family/ household of their eligibility status. Please keep this important document for your records and use throughout the school year.
Return completed meal application forms directly to—
Division of Food and Nutrition Services
Montgomery County Public Schools
8401 Turkey Thicket Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
Students/families can apply anytime during the school year.
Applications are evaluated solely on the number of household members and gross income—no other circumstances can be considered. If you believe your gross income (amount before deductions) is at or less than the maximum income limits for your household size that is listed on the back of the application, you should contact the Division of Food and Nutrition Services to be certain that you have completed your application correctly.
Yes. Families whose household situations change may reapply at any time during the school year.
Parents/guardians are asked to retain the Action-Taken Notice (ATN) for use throughout the school year. Requests for duplicate ATNs must be requested from the Division of Food and Nutrition Services office by calling 240-740-7400. Due to the confidential meal benefit information included, ATNs may not be faxed or emailed. Duplicate copies will be mailed to the student address on file.
Families seeking other benefits may also refer the organizations to which they are applying to the income guidelines that are on our website or on the second page of the application. Parents/guardians would need to disclose the number of household members and gross income so that the organization could evaluate their eligibility.