Meals-to-You Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below you’ll find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Meals-to-You. Questions are divided into categories by Emergency Meals-to-You for Families and School Districts (SDs) and School Food Authorities (SFAs) and also Summer Meals-to-You. Click on the arrows to the left of each title to see questions and answers.

Families and Households Applying for Emergency Meals-to-You FAQs

Emergency Meals-to-You (eMTY) provides weekday breakfasts and lunches to students who were receiving those meals through the National School Lunch Program at a free or reduced price but temporarily cannot receive school meals due to emergency school closures. eMTY mails 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches every two weeks directly to the student’s home while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

What if my student is eligible?

If your family is eligible to get eMTY boxes delivered, your school district will reach out to you with more information and instructions for signing up. If you did not receive communication from your school district, you will not be able to receive Meals-to-You.

How do I know if my student is eligible?

A student is eligible for eMTY if s/he is already eligible for free or reduced-price meals at a school that is participating in eMTY. The school district must apply and be accepted into the program before a student can enroll. In order to serve younger family members that are not yet in school, if one child in the household is eligible, then all children ages 1-18 living in the household can participate.

All students attending Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) participating schools are eMTY eligible.

How do I know if my school district is participating?

A list of participating schools districts is available here.

How long will the program be?

You can receive Meals-to-You boxes until whichever of the following comes first:

  • June 30,
  • the date you return to school on campus, or 
  • the federally declared public health emergency measures are lifted.

What will we receive?

One box per enrolled child every two weeks for the time period of the student’s school closure. Each box will contain shelf-stable components for 20 meals: 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches. Sample items include: 

  • Protein:  Milk, Chicken Salad, Hummus, Beef Stick, Bean Dip, Cheese, Sunflower Kernels,
  • Whole Grains: Tortilla Chips, Corn Chips, Crackers, Oatmeal Bars, Cereal,
  • Vegetables: Salsa Cup, Marinara Cup, 100% Veg/Fruit Juice,
  • Fruit: Applesauce, Raisins, Craisins, Fruit Cup, 100% Fruit Juice.

What is my student has dietary restrictions?

If a child in your household needs a dietary modification, please send an email to info+FoodAllergy@mealstoyou.org and include your phone number in the email. We will reach out to you via phone and will work to modify individual boxes. We can only make modifications that do not fundamentally shift the nature of the program.

Who will deliver the boxes?

We can deliver to your home/a street address with UPS or to a P.O. Box with the U.S. Postal Service, whichever is best for you. We highly recommend that you sign up for UPS My Choice , USPS Informed Delivery, or FedEx. All are completely free, and they’ll notify you any time a box is on the way to you.

Some people have received their boxes but mine have not been delivered. What happened?

EMTY shipments are made by district, meaning that all boxes heading to any given school district leave our vendors’ facilities within a few hours’ time. However, that doesn’t correlate with the order or time frame in which UPS or USPS make their deliveries. Among the factors in play:

  • Different parts of the county are likely on different delivery routes, so will not get delivered at the same time or even on the same day,
  • Even if on the same route, once a truck is full (which is typically the case since we are shipping thousands of boxes to the same area), the rest of the boxes are left at the station until the next route comes through. In rural communities, the next route may not be until the next day.
  • UPS and USPS are not on the same delivery schedule, so delivery times will likely be very different depending on the type of address provided.
  • USPS is regularly communicating that COVID-19 is having an impact on their delivery schedules.

My household receives SNAP benefits, can I still get a Meals-to-You Box?

Yes! You can still get MTY boxes delivered if you are receiving SNAP or any other form of assistance. Plus, choosing to get MTY will not affect your eligibility for other assistance programs.

What if I’m not home when my box gets delivered?

Try coordinating with a family member or neighbor to pick up the box for you. Remember, these foods are shelf-stable, so they’ll still be good to eat when you get home!

Is it okay if the boxes sit outside for a few hours if I’m not home when the box is delivered?

All foods in the MTY box are shelf-stable, which means you don’t have to worry about the foods expiring anytime soon. The boxes will be packaged securely, so there shouldn’t be any problems with ants or other tiny pests getting into them. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about getting foods refrigerated immediately.  You’ll need to refrigerate the milk and some other foods once you open them.

The online link isn’t working for me. What do I need to do?

We’re sorry you’re having trouble. First, you might need to check your internet connection. If you have a good connection and still can’t fill out the online form, you can contact your school for assistance.

How do I know if my student was approved/enrolled?

After you have submitted your enrollment form and it is processed, you will get an email from info@mealstoyou.org with the subject line “Meals-to-You: You Can Now Make Changes to Your Account Whenever You Like.” This email contains your account edit link. When you click on that link, you should see your enrollment form. On the second page by each student’s name, there should be a section that says, “Child’s Enrollment & Eligibility Status,” with a drop-down menu next to it. That’s where you’ll check the status of enrollment. You won’t be able to change that menu, but it will be updated as the process moves forward. It may not say anything yet, but you can check back as it’s updated.

I’m realizing that some of the information I submitted on the enrollment form is incomplete, can I make changes to it?

After you have submitted your enrollment form and it is processed, you will get an email from info@mealstoyou.org with the subject line “Meals-to-You: You Can Now Make Changes to Your Account Whenever You Like.” This email contains your account edit link. When you click on that link, you should see your enrollment form. Use that link to make changes to your account or add eligible students. Update the information on your enrollment form and then re-submit it. You can only make changes while your school district’s enrollment period is open. Check here to see enrollment dates.

When will the first Meals-to-You box be delivered?

Delivery dates vary by district. We encourage you to verify your address this free tool from UPS. (New and updated addresses may take a few days to verify.) After verifying your address, if you find any part of it is incorrect or needs to be updated, you can do so by using your account edit link you received via email or will receive once your enrollment form is processed. You may also wish to sign up for UPS My ChoiceUSPS Informed Delivery, or FedEx. All are completely free, and they’ll notify you any time a box is on the way to you!

Am I supposed to be receiving a survey from the Urban Institute?

Yes. If you said you were willing to be contacted to help the program improve, you may receive a survey from the Urban Institute. The Urban Institute is a non-profit, independent organization that does research to help people across the country. The Urban Institute was hired to help the Meals to You Program understand the program’s effect on enrolled families. The survey will help the program improve. The Urban Institute will send messages by text or by email with a link where you can fill out the survey. Not everyone will be asked to take a survey. Please only fill out the survey if it was sent to you personally.

The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty and the Urban Institute are separate, independent organizations. The Urban Institute will never share your individual responses with Baylor or with any other organization or government agency. You can choose if you want to answer the survey or not. Either way, it will not affect your ability to receive boxes from Meals to You. The Urban Institute will protect your information. Survey responses will be permanently erased one year after the end of the program.

Still not finding the answer you’re looking for? Contact us here.

School Districts (SDs) and School Food Authorities (SFAs) Applying for Emergency Meals-to-You

Emergency Meals-to-You (eMTY) provides weekday breakfasts and lunches to students who were receiving those meals through the National School Lunch Program at a free or reduced price, but temporarily cannot receive school meals due to emergency school closures. EMTY mails 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches every two weeks directly to the student’s home while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

How does eligibility work?

For a family to receive eMTY boxes, there are two eligibilities that must be met: The SD (or school) must be eligible AND the individual student must be eligible.

To be eligible, School Districts must:

  • Participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP),
  • Have at least 50% of enrollment eligible for free or reduced-priced meals (FRP). This requirement is covered if the SD participates in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), Note: USDA waivers changing SFSP eligibility do not change this requirement,
  • Be closed for at least four weeks, and
  • Fall under the designation of rural (can be checked here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/rural-designation).

If the SD is not eligible, but there are schools within the district that meet the above criteria, then the SD can apply on behalf of those schools. The SD would note this on the application and would only include the eligible schools on the application spreadsheet. In this scenario, schools that did not meet the criteria would not be eligible for eMTY, even though other schools in their SD were participating.

A student is eligible for eMTY if s/he is already eligible for free or reduced-price meals at a school that is participating in eMTY. The SD must apply and be accepted into the program before a student can enroll. In order to serve younger family members that are not yet be in school, if one child in the household is eligible, then all children ages 1-18 living in the household can participate.

Students attending CEP participating schools are eMTY eligible because they are, for NSLP purposes, FRP eligible.

Is a (public, private, tribal, charter, home, or other) school eligible to participate?

Regardless of the type of school, the requirements above apply. If the school participates in the NSLP and meets the other requirements, it is eligible for eMTY. If the school does not participate in the NSLP, then it is not eligible for this program which provides meals to students missing NSLP meals due to school closures.

How is eMTY related to SFSP or SSO?

EMTY is a federal demonstration project that has similarities to SFSP and SSO, but it is not directly related to those programs. EMTY reimburses the vendors, so the SD is not an SFSP sponsor and does not have a financial role in the operation of the program. EMTY does not require the SD to discontinue other alternative ways to ensure food access for students. In fact, we encourage SDs to create a comprehensive plan that will reach all of their students. We DO, however, expect SDs that are taking advantage of USDA’s recent waivers to provide an explanation of how they are limiting duplication. For example, the SD could decide to only apply on behalf of some their eligible schools. This would be a great solution for limiting duplication of services when operating an SSO site is the best option in some neighborhoods and there is a strong desire to keep local food service staff employed. Another option would be to target individual eligibility and outreach to rural parts of the SD’s attendance zone.

What will the family receive?

One box per child every two weeks for the time period of the student’s school closure. Each box will contain components for 20 meals: 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches. Sample items include:

  • Protein:  Milk, Chicken Salad, Hummus, Beef Stick, Bean Dip, Cheese, Sunflower Kernels,
  • Whole Grains: Tortilla Chips, Corn Chips, Crackers, Oatmeal Bars, Cereal,
  • Vegetables: Salsa Cup, Marinara Cup, 100% Veg/Fruit Juice,
  • Fruit: Applesauce, Raisins, Craisins, Fruit Cup, 100% Fruit Juice.

Some households have received their boxes but others have not been delivered. What could have happened?

EMTY shipments are made by district, meaning that all boxes heading to any given school district leave our vendors’ facilities within a few hours’ time. However, that doesn’t correlate with the order or time frame in which UPS or USPS make their deliveries. Among the factors in play:

  • Different parts of the county are likely on different delivery routes, so will not get delivered at the same time or even on the same day,
  • Even if on the same route, once a truck is full (which is typically the case since we are shipping thousands of boxes to the same area), the rest of the boxes are left at the station until the next route comes through. In rural communities, the next route may not be until the next day.
  • UPS, USPS, and FedEx are not on the same delivery schedule, so delivery times will likely be very different depending on the type of address provided.
  • USPS is regularly communicating that COVID-19 is having an impact on their delivery schedules.

What is the application process?

  1. Eligible SFAs will complete the application that is available on the Meals-to-You website,
  2. The SFA will upload and complete the spreadsheet in step 2 of the application. The SFA should change the name of the file to include the district name and state,
  3. When the SFA receives a confirmation email, they will attach the school spreadsheet and submit it to the appropriate state agency,
  4. The state agency will review the application for accuracy and submit the application to eMTY, verifying that the SFA is in good standing. The SA will submit the application to info+DistrictApplications@mealstoyou.org with the subject line: eMtY application: SFA/State,
  5. eMTY will review the application. When an application is approved, several things will happen. Baylor will:
    • Notify the SFA and negotiate an enrollment window that meets the SFAs needs,
    • Add the school to the enrollment section of the website,
    • Provide outreach language and materials to the SFA.
  6. Then a couple of things happen concurrently:
    • The SFA will conduct outreach to their families,
    • Families will begin applying.
  7. Family enrollment will last for the designated time period week,
  8. Baylor will check addresses and enrollment,
  9. Boxes of food will be delivered at the agreed-upon times.

Can an SFA continue MTY the summer months?

At this point, we are only authorized to provide meals till a school returns or the end of the school year.

How are the boxes delivered?

Most packages are shipped UPS ground. We can deliver to a street address with UPS or to a P.O. Box with the U.S. Postal Service. We highly recommend that families sign up for UPS My Choice , USPS Informed Delivery, FedEx. All are completely free, and they’ll notify you any time a box is on the way to you.

How do SFAs extend the end-of-service date provided at the time of their application if their school closure gets extended?

We expect this will often be the case, so will contact the SFA when their end-of-service dates is coming up to see if they need to change it.

How can homeless students participate?

​Since we are mailing food, we have to have a mailing address. That can happen in two ways:

  • The SFA can provide an address for all homeless students (see below for guidance), or
  • The family can put any mailing address that they have access to – extended family, friend, community center, church, etc.

Is it possible to ship a bunch of meals to the same site, and then either deliver them or have the families pick them up?

We will need to work this out with you. Our preference is that you deliver the boxes to the families. If families are able to pick them up at a central location, the SFA should consider if a curbside delivery model is a better option. Either way, we will need two things:

  • UPS or USPS must be able to document delivery to the central location (the school itself or a responsible community organization), and
  • Some kind of verification / documentation of the final stage of delivery.

EMTY only provides breakfast and lunch, correct? If SDs want to provide dinner meals to families and meals on the weekend, the program isn’t set up for that?

This program mails 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches every two weeks. It is intended to offer meals to students that are otherwise missing those 10 breakfasts and 10 lunches provided by schools.

Can a school district work with an existing vendor?

If you want to work with your current vendor to deliver meals to your students, you are welcome to do that on your own. There is no need for you to participate in emergency Meals-to-You. You do need to follow USDA’s guidance (https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/covid-19-meal-delivery) concerning meal delivery and ensure you are operating within your state agency’s guidance as well.

Are there templates set up to inform families about this program?

Yes. They SFA gets these when they’ve been approved.

Are territories included?

Territories interested in applying (or a USDA staff member wanting to discuss the viability of a territory application) should contact info@mealstoyou.org with TERRITORY QUESTION in the subject line. We will set up an individual consultation.

Still not finding the answer you’re looking for? Contact us here.

If you’re looking for FAQs about SUMMER Meals-to-You NOT Emergency, school closure, Meals-to-You, click here.