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June 6 Update Regarding Masks
Masks are still required indoors, with continued exceptions for eating, drinking, and mask breaks. When outdoors, individuals no longer need to be masked. More >>

COVID-19 Screenings, Testing, and Contact Tracing
NYS COVID-19 School Report Card Dashboard
Reopen ICSD Updates and Announcements
School Meals Information
Student Vaccination Clinics

Child Nutrition Program



Beth Krause, Director of Child Nutrition
Phone: 607-274-2302
Fax: (607) 274-6836

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Updates and Announcements

summer meals for kids 2021 graphic
Free Summer Meals for Kids

The ICSD will be providing breakfast and lunch at various locations throughout the summer. All meals are free for any child 18 and younger. Click here to view the pickup site locations, service times, and other details.

Child Nutrition Awards
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has awarded the Ithaca City School District $14,724 for our successful participation in the 2019-2020 30% Lunch Initiative. Additionally, Boynton Middle School Lunch Manager Jennifer Doolittle was named a 2021 Hunger Hero by NO KID HUNGRY New York. Learn more >>
Free Meals for All Kids Through Last Day of School
The USDA has announced that it is extending flexibilities to allow free meals to continue to be available to all children through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Breakfast and lunch are available Monday through Friday for all ICSD students. Visit our School Meals Information page to learn more. 
Food and Nutrition Items
Due to the pandemic, it has taken 7-8 weeks for us to get food deliveries of the amount of food we use. We procured cereal and meal breaks last May to be delivered by July, and we need to use these items first before we can serve other items. All of the pre-packaged foods meet USDA Nutritional Guidelines. The cereal types are all whole grain and contain 25% less sugar than the types sold in grocery stores, as they are made especially for schools. At the time we ordered, we could not get Cheerios or Chex pre-packaged. Procuring food and paper supplies is still a problem.
Apply for SNAP
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have wide-ranging health and economic impacts, please know that you may be eligible for programs that will help you buy food for your family, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn more and apply today!
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FAQs: P-EBT Food Benefits
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 authorized the payment of Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) food benefits to households with children who would have received free school lunches under the National School Lunch Act, if not for a school closure. These temporary food benefits are to help cover the cost of meals children would otherwise would have received at school. To learn more, view Frequently Asked Questions for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Food Benefits.

The Ithaca City School District participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to providing reimbursement and government donated commodities for meals, the USDA also sets the nutrition standards our meals must meet.

School meals offer students fruits and vegetables, proteins and grains, and milk, all of which they must meet strict limits on saturated fat and portion size. The USDA Guidelines include:

  • Age-appropriate calorie limits
  • Servings of vegetables and fruit
    • Students MUST take ½ cup serving of fruit or vegetable with their meal
  • A wide variety of vegetables, including dark green and red/orange vegetables and legumes
  • Fat-free Milk
  • More whole grains
  • Less sodium
While 5 options must be offered, only 3 need to be taken for the school to receive reimbursement for the meal. One of those 3 must be a fruit or a vegetable. (In addition to students who receive free or reduced price meals, we also receive a smaller reimbursement for students who pay for their meals). Schools receive the reimbursements from the federal government and a smaller reimbursement from the state government.

So students can take a vegetable, a fruit, and a grain and that would allow the school to be reimbursed. Students could also take a protein (such as a Cool School Food bean-based entrée), a vegetable, and a fruit, for the meal to be reimbursed. As long as students take 3 options, and one if a fruit or a vegetable, the school district gets reimbursed.

Water must be made available to all students and is available in all cafeterias.
Customer Service

The employees of the Ithaca School Food Service Program are committed to providing students with nutritious, tasty meals in an atmosphere they will enjoy. We understand that a hungry child cannot learn. School meals serve as a building block to promote the growth and development of our students and can provide one of the tools they need to achieve a positive and optimal learning environment.

Meeting the nutritional needs and food preferences of Ithaca students is the department’s primary goal. We invite parents and students to contact our staff with any comments or requests. If you have a favorite recipe you would like to submit, we are always on the lookout for new menu items and try to incorporate new and different foods that children may not have tasted before.

Consumer education is one of the goals of the food service department. You and your child(ren) will observe the following throughout the school year:

  • Free samples and taste testing in student cafeterias
  • New food items highlighted on the printed menu
  • Cool School Foods – Plant Based Foods From Around The World

We also make every effort to accommodate students with food intolerances or allergies. District-wide, there are many students with food allergies, some of which are life threatening. If your child has lactose intolerance, a food allergy, or other medical condition that affects their diet, please obtain a note from your physician and send it to the school nurse. The note should indicate the food(s) the child cannot eat, and recommend substitutions when applicable. A note will be put on the child’s account to alert cashiers to check the tray when the child comes through the line.

If you have questions about food allergies, or any other facet of the school lunch and breakfast programs, please call our office at 607-274-2302. We also invite parents to join their children for lunch at any time. Please contact the main office at your child’s school to make arrangements if you wish to visit.