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Ashland - Local Town Pages

Free meals for all students in Ashland, regardless of income

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has decided to extend free school meals for all students through the 2022-2023 school year. 

What this means for Ashland students is that schools will be offering all students one free breakfast and one free lunch each full school day

Regina Wilkinson, the new Director of Nutrition Services for the Ashland Public schools, said she is “looking forward to my new role and the opportunity to provide delicious, nourishing and healthy meals to all the Ashland students.”

Wilkinson said, “This year we will be offering a main menu item of the day, and plenty of entree salads, sandwiches and Grab and Go options each day, including vegetarian options. As we settle back into the new school year, we hope to add a second daily hot option.”

In a press release, she said:

We strive to tailor our menus to the age group we are serving, and this seems to fit nicely for our younger students. In addition, there are no a la carte sales at those two schools.

Cash registers will be used at the Warren, Mindess, Middle and High schools. Students will be required to go through the cashier station, as this is how USDA requires us to ensure each child is getting only one reimbursable meal. This is the only way we can offer a la carte items including second meals, for which we must charge students. There are no second meals available at the Warren school, the only a la carte item that is available is a carton of milk for $.50.  

Because everyone will be eligible for a free meal, there will be no need for charging meals. 

“Please remind your child to take all that is offered with the free meal, including plenty of vegetables and fruit.

Should students wish to purchase à la cart items or a second meal, they will need to pay for those items. Wilkinson said there will be no cash accepted at the register.                  

Students can prepay for a la carte by going to and paying online, or they can drop off cash or a check in a sealed envelope with their name clearly written on it to the cafeteria manager at the start of the school day.  

Since breakfast is free as well, this would be a perfect time to drop it off and get a free breakfast!  Again, funds are only needed for a la carte sales, which includes second meals, which the USDA will not cover.

If students would like a second meal they will first need to go to the cashier to ensure they have funds on their account. The cashier will then process the sale, and give them a ticket to take to the serving line to get the meal. 

 If you will be sending your child to school with a meal from home, please include any utensils, napkins and condiments such as ketchup or salad dressing. They can purchase milk for $.50 if they have funds on their account. If your child has a food allergy, please contact the Kitchen Manager at your child’s school so they can prepare their meal so it is safe for them to eat.

In July, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a one-year extension of the School Meals for All program that will provide free breakfast and/or lunch to every Massachusetts K-12 student in the 2022-2023 school year, regardless of income. 

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