For Immediate Release: August 4, 2014
Students To Eat For Free in the Darlington County School District
(DARLINGTON COUNTY) -- Beginning this school year, all students enrolled and attending Darlington County public schools will receive free breakfasts and lunches, thanks to the district’s involvement in a new Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the National School Lunch & Breakfast Programs. At the same time, new nutritional regulations will limit what foods schools can sell in and out of the cafeterias. The new programs are designed to ensure all students have access to healthy, nutritionally balanced meals while they are at school.
Under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), all children attending a school in the Darlington County School District (DCSD) will receive breakfast and lunch at no cost to the students. Students and their families do not need to complete meal applications to receive the free meals for this school year. The district is eligible for participation because of the high number of disadvantaged children in the district. The monies supporting the CEP come (s) from the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, an amended section of the National School Lunch Act.
The free meals are the standard cafeteria meals served in the schools every day, which follow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for healthy school meals. Lunch menus are available on the district website at www.darlington.k12.sc.us.
Some schools in the district, particularly the high schools, offer additional food choices beyond the standard cafeteria meals. These food choices, such as pizza and subs, are considered “ala carte” items and are not part of the CEP. As such, students will be charged for ala carte items.
The 2014-15 school year also brings changes in school cafeterias across the nation as the USDA adopts stricter nutritional guidelines for all food sold at the school during school hours, including cafeteria food and fundraisers.
These new guidelines, called “Smart Snacks”, are mandatory for all schools operating the USDA meal programs and are not related to the Darlington County School District’s inclusion in the Community Eligibility Provision.
Under the new guidelines, any food sold in schools must
• Be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; or
• Have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food; or
• Be a combination of food that contains at least 1Ž4 cup of fruit and/or vegetable; or
• Contain 10% of the Daily Value (DV) of one of the nutrients of public health concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (calcium, potassium, vitamin D, or dietary fiber).
Foods must also meet several nutritional requirements relating to calorie limits, sodium limits, fat limits and sugar limits.
These new standards also impact beverages sold in the schools. Schools may now sell plain water (with or without carbonation), unflavored low fat milk, unflavored or flavored fat free milk and milk alternatives, 100% fruit or vegetable juice and 100% fruit or vegetable juice diluted with water (with or without carbonation) and no added sweeteners. High school students may also have additional “no calorie” or “lower calorie” beverage options.
The new Smart Snacks guidelines will also govern any food sold as fundraisers during the school day. Those foods must now meet the same calorie, sodium, fat and sugar limitations as food served and sold in the cafeteria. Many popular fundraisers such as bake sales, ice cream, candy bars, and pizza will be impacted. The DCSD’s Food Services Department has been working all summer with vendors to find foods that both meet the nutritional guidelines and appeal to students. Smart Snacks guidelines do not affect food sold after school hours on campuses.
The district has provided a link to the Smart Snacks calculator so parents, school leaders, and club leaders can determine what foods will meet the new Smart Snacks guidelines. The Smart Snacks calculator can be found at the Food Services Department tab on the district’s website at www.darlington.k12.sc.us.
www.lunchprepay.com is a convenient, secure way that parents can pre-pay for their child(ren)'s meals in the cafeteria from the privacy of their own home using a credit/debit card!
Not only that, if parents sign up for the premier service, they will have 24-7 access to their child(ren)'s account balances and even view their meal history!
To sign up for this new service, simply click on the weblink below
and click on "New User".
(You will have to have your child(ren)'s student number(s), which can be found on their report cards, or you can call their school to obtain this information).
Cafeteria Health Inspections
Please click on the DHEC picture below to access the link for Food Establishment Scores obtained by SCDHEC. Once in the site, fill in the school name and city then click "search".
You will then be able to view the scores awarded.
All detailed DHEC inspections are
posted in each cafeteria for public viewing.
Monday - Thursday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
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: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.