The Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools) is taking strides to support families in their community by urging them to apply for free and reduced meals as part of the National School Lunch Program. The process is aimed at ensuring children receive nutritious meals to boost their academic performance.

Camille Unruh, the director of Nutrition and Wellness, says, “The process is simple, and the benefits can be significant. Families participating in the program have access to nutritious food, which can help improve their children’s academic performance.”

Eligibility for the program is determined annually by income guidelines. If a family’s household income falls within these thresholds, they may qualify for free or reduced meals at school. “PVSchools encourages all parents to submit a free and reduced meal application annually, regardless of their income,” says Unruh.

Applications can be submitted online at and are usually processed within 24 business hours. Paper applications are also available at each school. However, processing paper applications can take longer. Once a paper application is completed, it should be returned to the school’s kitchen manager.

Information about meal prices and menus is available on the Nutrition & Wellness webpage in both English and Spanish.

Completing the form can offer additional benefits besides meals. Eligible families can receive reduced registration fees for Advanced Placement (AP), SAT, and ACT tests, as well as discounted rates on costs associated with applying for college and participating in other extracurricular programs.

The National School Lunch Program provides free or reduced-price meals to qualifying students. Breakfast and lunch are offered at no charge for students who qualify. The program operates in all schools in the district and applications must be completed annually at the start of each school year.

In other news, PVSchools is hiring kitchen staff at various locations. Those interested in joining the team are urged to contact the Nutrition and Wellness office at 602-449-2274.