Department of Defense Education Activity

Kessler ES: School Meals Program


Your Community School Meals Program

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The DoDEA Americas School Meals Program is dedicated to building student health and academic achievement in our communities. Daily access to nutritious foods is the foundation for students to reach their full potential.

  • Our program provides parents convenience and reduces stress by providing budget friendly meals that are nutritious, too!
  • Our program is a participant of the USDA National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program ensuring the high standards of nutrition of served to your student.
Meal Prices Full Price Student Reduced Price Adult/Teacher Price
Breakfast Free Free $2.75
Lunch $2.60 $0.40 $4.00
Salad - - $4.00
Student 2nd Lunch $2.60 - -
Entree $1.95 - $2.50
Side Item $0.80 - $1.25
Adult Dessert - - $1.25
Milk $0.50 - $0.50
Tea (Adults Only) - - $0.75

Kessler ES

Shaneka Smalls

School Meals Program

Phone: 912-369-1523

Fort Stewart Schools

Gladys Hall

School Meals Program
Food Services Director

Phone: 912-369-1442

Southeast District

Marie Patti

School Meals Program
District Food Service Director

Phone: 706-545-8264

Free and Reduced Meals Program

Children need healthy meals to learn. DoDEA Schools offer healthy meals every school day. Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. The forms to the right include an application for free or reduced price meal benefits, and a set of detailed instructions. Below are some common questions and answers to help you with the application process.

Who can get free or reduced price meals?

  • All children in households receiving benefits from a State SNAP, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) or State TANF, are eligible for free meals.
  • Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.
  • Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
  • Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.

Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines

Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household’s income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals if your household income falls at or below the limits on this chart.

FEDERAL ELIGIBILITY INCOME CHART For School Year July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020
Household size Yearly Monthly Weekly
1 23,107 1,926 445
2 31,284 2,607 602
3 39,461 3,289 759
4 47,638 3,970 917
5 55,815 4,652 1,074
6 63,992 5,333 1,231
7 72,169 6,015 1,388
8 80,346 6,696 1,546
Each additional person: 8,177 682 158

Kessler ES

Shaneka Smalls

School Meals Program

Phone: 912-369-1523

Fort Stewart Schools

Gladys Hall

School Meals Program
Food Services Director

Phone: 912-369-1442

Southeast District

Marie Patti

School Meals Program
District Food Service Director

Phone: 706-545-8264

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILDREN QUALIFY AS homeless, MIGRANT, OR RUNAWAY? Do the members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please call or e-mail [school, homeless liaison or migrant coordinator].

Do I need to fill out an application for each child? No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to: [name, address, phone number].

SHOULD I FILL OUT AN APPLICATION IF I RECEIVED A LETTER THIS SCHOOL YEAR SAYING MY CHILDREN ARE ALREADY APPROVED FOR FREE MEALS? No, but please read the letter you got carefully and follow the instructions. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification, contact [name, address, phone number, e-mail] immediately.

CAN I APPLY ONLINE? Yes! You are encouraged to complete an online application instead of a paper application if you are able. The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application. Visit [website] to begin or to learn more about the online application process. Contact [name, address, phone number, e-mail] if you have any questions about the online application.

MY CHILD’S APPLICATION WAS APPROVED LAST YEAR. DO I NEED TO FILL OUT A NEW ONE? Yes. Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year, through [date]. You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year. If you do not send in a new application that is approved by the school or you have not been notified that your child is eligible for free meals , your child will be charged the full price for meals.

I GET WIC. CAN MY CHILDREN GET FREE MEALS? Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. Please send in an application.

Will the information I give be checked? Yes. We may also ask you to send written proof of the household income you report.

If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later? Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to: [name, address, phone number, e-mail].

May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen? Yes. You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced price meals.

What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

WHAT IF SOME HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS HAVE NO INCOME TO REPORT? Household members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the application, or may not receive income at all. Whenever this happens, please write a 0 in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank, those will also be counted as zeroes. Please be careful when leaving income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.

We are in the military. do we REPORT OUR INCOME DIFFERENTLY? Your basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, it must also be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income.

WHAT IF THERE ISN'T ENOUGH SPACE ON THE APPLICATION FOR MY FAMILY? List any additional household members on a separate piece of paper, and attach it to your application. Contact [name, address, phone number, e-mail] to receive a second application.

My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for? To find out how to apply for [State SNAP] or other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call [State hotline number].

If you have other questions or need help, call the number to the right.

Accounts and Payments

Our program offers CONVENIENT and BUDGET friendly prices and payment methods to feed your student during the day, ensuring your student is refreshed and refueled to continue learning.

TIP:  Set up payday alerts on your phone or calendar as a reminder to fund your students account.

Options: Please be advised that payments are due at the time of purchase.  Sponsors, guardians and families are responsible for all student purchases.

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#1 - Most Convenient:  Secure web based payment with a credit card through the "K12PaymentCenter" at  https://www.k12paymentcenter.com/.

  • Set up low balance alerts
  • View your students purchases
  • Pay at the convenience of your home or anywhere!
  • Split payments across several student accounts

#2 - Drop off payments at your student's school meals office or cafeteria. 

#3 - Give payments to your student.

  • For purchases above the value of one meal, YOU MUST place it in a sealed envelope with the students name and amount of money enclosed clearly written on the outside of the envelope.

K12 Payment Center Information

Food Services Accounts and Payment

We ask that you fund your child's meal account at least a week in advance.  You may make payments:

  • Online through the K12PaymentCenter.com website.  See the district food service page for more information on online payments.
  • Parent/Guardian visiting the Cash Clerk's office, located in the cafeteria, from 8:30 - 10:00 AM Monday through Friday
  • Send payment to school with your child in an envelope.  The front of the envelope should be labeled with: Student's Name, Teacher's Name, Amount Enclosed.

If a child is absent or brings a meal from home, credit is maintained for those days.  Although a student may normally bring lunch from home, it is a good idea to have a little money deposited in the school meal account for an emergency breakfast and/or lunch.  Money that is not used at the end of the school year will be carried forward to the next school year.  If your child is moving to a different school on Fort Stewart, his or her account balance will travel with him or her. 

Returned Checks

In the event the parent pays in advance with a check on an account that has insufficient funds, the school will notify the parent by letter and phone call. A $10.00 service charge will be added to the check total. The parent/sponsor will make cash payment to the Cash Clerk's Office.  Further checks will be accepted only if the delinquent check and service charge are paid within 30 days of parent notification.

Charging Meals

Charging meals must be kept to a minimum and used as a last resort only. The following policy will be used for student charges:

  1. Students will be allowed to charge meals if they do not have funds to pay for their meals.  Children will not be allowed to charge snacks.
    Note:  If you do not want your child to charge meals, you must provide written notification to the cafeteria.
  2. The cashier will send a written notification to parents when the child's account reaches a negative balance. There after, letters are sent home weekly through the child's teacher.
  3. The cashier will notify the Food Service Director if the charges are not paid within 30 days.  Charges not paid within 30 days of the first notification, will be subject to payroll deduction.
  4. The Food Service Director will initiate payroll deduction on all accounts referred by the cashier. There is a $35 service charge assessed on all collections.
    Note:  A payroll deduction cannot be reversed once it is initiated. 
  5. Unpaid cafeteria balances will be carried forward to the next school year.  If your child moves to a different school on Fort Stewart, the balance will travel with them.

Additional Information

Food Service Documents

Wellness Policy

2018 Media Release

Parent Letter

Commercial Foods

During the meal service in the cafeteria the distribution of commercial foods in their advertised containers (i.e., Subway, McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Popeye's, etc.) is prohibited. Foods may stay in their wrapping; however they must be put in a noncommercial container or bag. In addition, students may only eat the food provided to them through the school food service program or the food provided to them from their parents/sponsors. Food may not be brought into the cafeteria to share with a child's classmates or other children. This prohibits the practice of bringing cupcakes or other food items into the cafeteria during meal service to share with students to celebrate a student's birthday or other celebrations.

Food Allergies

Food Allergies are serious health risks. Please coordinate with the respective school nurse and provide a physician's slip explaining the food allergies your child may have, so that appropriate accommodations can be made.


Kessler ES Hours

School Hours Regular Hours  Thursday Hours 
K - 6 Students 8:20 am - 3:05 pm 8:20 am - 1:50 pm
Pre-K AM Session 8:20 - 10:55 am 8:20 - 10:30 am
Pre-K PM Session 12:30 - 3:05 pm 11:40 am - 1:50 pm

Thursdays are Early Release days

Cafeteria Hours Start End
Breakfast 7:45 am 8:15 am
Lunch 10:55 am 12:05 pm
USDA NONDISCRIMINATION STATEMENT
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), 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) 
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.