Welcome to Food and Nutrition Services

One of the most important ways we can help our children perform better academically is to provide them with the nutrition necessary for the healthy growth of their minds and bodies.  Our breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program and Snack menus are designed to offer a variety of appealing and healthy food options for our students. Menus meet or exceed the regulations outlined in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Menus reflect increased fresh fruit and vegetable selections, whole-grain breads, 100% juice products and skim, 1% and no fat chocolate milk.

Pandemic EBT Information

New York State is providing Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food benefits to all households with children who are eligible to receive free school lunch under the National School Lunch Act and whose school was closed or operating with reduced in-school attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 academic year and Summer 2021.

Issuance of the food benefit will commenced in June 2021 and continued for several months, due to the large number of eligible children and schools participating in the National School Lunch Program across the state. If your child(ren) is eligible and has not received P-EBT benefit by June 2022 for the 2020-2021 School Year, you may fill out the P-EBT Information Form. For any questions regarding P-EBT Food Benefits call 1-833-452-0096.

P-EBT food benefits for Summer 2021 began issuing in June of 2022. NYS OTDA does not currently have an estimated completion timeline available. Please visit their webpage below for updates.

If your child(ren) is newly enrolled in their school and/or you believe they qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, please contact your child’s school to ask about the program requirements.

If you have misplaced a P-EBT Food Benefit card issued to your child[ren], you may order a replacement card by calling 1-888-328-6399  If your child[ren] received P-EBT benefits on a Medicaid card and you need to order a replacement NYS Medicaid card or select a PIN, click here for more information.

Once you have set up a PIN to access your P-EBT food benefits, you can check your family’s P-EBT food benefits balance by visiting www.connectebt.com or by calling 1-888-328-6399.

For additional information please visit NYSOTDA P-EBT Benefits Information Page.

Household Income Eligibility Application 

The Syracuse City School District continues to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) under Child Nutrition Programs. CEP is directed toward schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Under CEP, all students within the Syracuse City School District will receive breakfast and lunch at no charge for the entire school year. We offer daily meal service to our students when school is in session. During the school year we provide more than 12,000 breakfasts, 15,000 lunches, 7,000 after school snacks and 2,500 suppers daily. We also offer a Summer Nutrition Program at select schools, city parks, churches and community agencies during our Summer Nutrition program. However, for the District to continue to provide free meal services, and to receive further state and federal funding, you will need to complete a household income eligibility form.  If your children qualify, students may also receive SAT and other testing fee waivers. 



Allergies and Dietary Restrictions

The health of your child is important to us. To ensure the safety and protection of your child from any potential allergens, communicating any known allergies and dietary restrictions to the school nurse is critical. A parent letter and documentation from a medical authority are mandatory.     

A food allergy management plan team will be convened for any student with food allergies.  Members of the team may include: 504 coordinator, school nurse, building administration, Food and Nutrition Services representative or teachers who will work together to implement the food allergy management plan. The 504 coordinator will monitor students annually, or as necessary, to ensure the management plan is up to date and being followed correctly.

Food Allergy Management Plan Team will:

  • Review district policy/ procedures, staff responsibilities, student privacy/confidentiality, signs/symptoms of an allergic reaction, and the use of epinephrine auto injectors.
  • Ensure epinephrine auto-injectors will be in a secure, accessible area for all staff that have adequate training to administer.
  • Establish food bullying and harassment prevention strategies.
  • Avoid the use of identified allergens throughout the school day; including class projects, school celebrations, arts & crafts, science experiments or cooking classes.
  • Enforce proper hygiene for all students before and after meals to prevent cross contamination.

Food & Nutrition Services will make necessary substitutions available once approval is obtained from a licensed physician through dietary orders.  Specialized menus may be developed in coordination with staff Registered Dietitian as needed.  Please contact Food & Nutrition Services at 315-435-4207.

Frequently Asked Question

My child has a food allergy! How do I notify the district? 

Please provide a physician's statement, which must indicate the allergy, how it restricts the child's diet, the food (or foods) to be omitted from the child's diet, and the food (or foods) that must be substituted. The statement can be faxed to (315) 435-4879, or given to the school nurse at your child's school. 

If you would like to speak with a nutrition expert to determine which menu items your child can (or cannot) consume, please call the Food & Nutrition Office at (315) 435-4207.


How common are food allergies among children?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 5.6 million children have food allergies. Eight foods cause 90% of most food allergy reactions, which include; milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. Currently, there is no cure for food allergies and strict avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction from occurring.  

What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance? 

A food allergy is an immune reaction.  This means the body’s immune system identifies a food as dangerous, and then creates antibodies that lead to an allergic response. Severe cases of an allergic reaction may cause anaphylactic shock, which is when your blood pressure drops so low that your cells and organs do not get enough oxygen.  If not treated right away anaphylactic shock may be life threatening,  Food intolerance is caused by the body not producing proper enzymes to break down elements of a food.  As a result, those with food intolerance may have difficulty digesting certain foods.  It is important to note that a food intolerance is different than a food allergy.  Often times people with an intolerance may eat a small amount of these foods without a reaction. Food intolerances are non life-threatening and SCSD does not provide substitutions for food intolerances.

How does the school prevent bullying around food allergies?

Having a food allergy is considered a disability. A student experiencing bullying based on a disability is discrimination and is a Section 504 violation. Complaints can be made to the Office of Civil Rights. 

Where can I get additional information about food allergies?

Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team
Food Allergy Research and Education
Tips for Newly Diagnosed Allergies
Allergy Symptoms and Reading Food Labels
CDC Healthy Schools/Food Allergies in Schools
Children Food Allergy Facts & Figures
Reading Food Labels


Wellness Policy

Syracuse City School District views wellness as an active process to achieve lifelong social, mental, and physical health. To help our students reach this state of wellness, we have developed a tailored wellness plan as well as implemented programming that support and help our students achieve the highest levels of success.  The plan describes specific goals and objectives for nutrition standards of all foods and beverages available on the school campus, food & beverage marketing in schools, nutrition promotion and education, physical activity, physical education and many other school based activities that promote overall student wellness.

Overview of Wellness:

The Syracuse City School District’s mission is to build, support, and sustain school communities that provide all students with a high-quality education that prepares them to graduate as responsible, active citizens ready for success in college and careers and prepared to compete in a global economy.  Research shows how good nutrition, physical activity, and social interaction are strongly correlated with positive student success in and outside of the classroom. To achieve maximum student wellness, the Syracuse City School District participates in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program as well as partners with the American Heart Association and National Dairy Council school wellness programs. These collaborative programs incorporate wellness at the individual level as well as into the surrounding community.

Student Wellness and Health Promotion:

Nutrition education and promotion throughout school and in the community has the potential to positively influence life long healthy eating behaviors. For this reason, SCSD includes both marketing of nutritious foods throughout schools, as well as, ongoing nutrition education throughout educational disciplines. For continued nutrition education and exposure many of our schools also participate in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which is available to students in  grades Pre-K through 6th. The students are offered a variety of produce samples throughout the week, paired with nutrition education in the classroom. This allows students to experience new and exciting produce, increasing their weekly consumption of fruits and vegetables and expanding their knowledge of foods consumed.  The USDA FFVP toolkit  provides nutrition education lesson plans and resources to support a healthier school environment.

Our District continues to develop and enhance relationships with community partners in support of our wellness policy to benefit our children and their families. Within the District we have developed school wellness committees that ensure the implementation and maintenance of our wellness policy.  We empower parents/guardians and care givers, as well as the community at large, to become an active members of established school wellness committees throughout the District.  These committees work on wellness policy initiatives encouraging health and academic success of our students.  Strategies that schools use to encourage wellness include; fitness classes, walking clubs, stress management and more. Those interested are encouraged to reach out to school building administration to work with school wellness champions, who organize wellness activities and develop plans that support a healthier school environment as outlined in the SCSD Wellness Policy.

Hunger Prevention

Hunger and food insecurity are two big issues that we aim to address every day  when children arrive at school. Not having enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle or having a limited availability of healthy, nutritious foods can lead to poor health including frequent stomach aches, headaches, behavioral issues and developmental delays, resulting in poor academic performance.  In addition to providing free meal service to all, Food & Nutrition Services participates in multiple hunger prevention programs to combat childhood hunger in our schools.

Breakfast After the Bell:

Students who eat school breakfast have higher scores on standardized tests, lower levels of behavioral, emotional, and educational problems, higher graduation rates, and higher school attendance as evidenced by No Kid Hungry.  Our “Breakfast After the Bell” program allows students to receive a free breakfast even if they arrive late to school as long as arrival is before lunch service begins. 

Do you have a child under five years old at home?

WIC supports moms, infants and kids under age 5 with healthy food, nutrition information and more. Now, shopping is easier with eWIC! Just swipe your card at WIC-approved stores.

For detailed information about qualifying for WIC, visit WIChelpNY.org.

Blessings in a Backpack:

The Blessings in a Backpack program aims to organize communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school children across America to make sure they do not go hungry. Each child is sent home on Fridays with a large backpack full of satisfying and nutritious food. This program currently runs in five of our schools and has served more than 1,200 children to date. Participating schools and Blessings in a Backpack sponsors include:

  • Clary Middle School, sponsored by Eastern Hills Bible Church;
  • Delaware Primary School, sponsored by Bellevue United Methodist Church;
  • Franklin Elementary School, sponsored by the Syracuse Diocese;
  • STEAM at Dr. King Elementary, sponsored by Centro
  • Seymour Dual Language Academy, sponsored by the Liverpool Chapter

If your child(ren)'s school is not listed above indicating participation in the blessing in a backpack program, additional resources are available to assist you and your family to ensure obtain the proper food to keep you healthy and active. Please reach out to Food & Nutrition Services at 315-435-4207 for more information.

Make a Donation:

Click here to donate online to Blessings in a Backpack. You may also mail a check made out to Blessings in a Backpack with Syracuse City School District Fund #1912” to Blessings in a Backpack Lockbox, P.O. Box 950291, Louisville, KY 40295.


Discrimination Complaints 

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 (including gender identity and sexual orientation), 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: program.intake@usda.gov
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.