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Hot Lunch

Grand Rapids Christian Schools is excited to participate in the the National School Lunch Program for students and staff.  Below is a summary of some important details about our food service program.  We are committed to serving students healthy school meals that provide excellent nutrition to enhance student learning.  We look forward to serving your family this year! 

Hot Lunch Menus

Hot Lunch FAQs

How do students receive meals?

At the elementary and middle schools, students will sign up for hot lunch at the beginning of the day.  At the serving line during lunch, they will receive their selection and proceed to the cashier.

At the high school cashier, students will enter the last six digits of their Student ID on a pin pad to access their accounts. Student photos will appear on the screen to prevent students from being misidentified.

*Students receiving free or reduced-price meals will use the same procedure, and there will be no indication on the screen that the student is receiving a free or reduced-price lunch.

Can I still send a check to school?

Absolutely!  Meal deposits may be sent to school with your student in an envelope. Please label the envelope to Food Services and include the student's first and last name, teacher's name, and school. Envelopes may be dropped off in the school office. At the High School, checks or cash may be accepted from 7:30-10:30am at the school office.

Checks payable to Grand Rapids Christian are accepted. Please include your student's first and last name on the check. A $10 fee will be assessed for all returned checks.

If I send a check, when will it be available?

Generally checks received before 10:30 am are credited to the account on the day they are received. Checks received in line at the high school are credited immediately.

Can I send one check for all my students?

Yes. We have the ability to make family deposits. However, all student accounts are individual. Please indicate how much you want deposited to each student account.

How will I know when the account is getting low on funds?

You can monitor accounts online. Follow the link to and after creating an account and receiving your password, you can log on and view account balances and history.

Click the "View History" link next to the student's name. To view another history click the "Student List" link in the account menu. There is no charge to view your student's account history or balance.

May students charge lunches to other students' accounts?

No. Due to the federally regulated child nutrition program, balances are not allowed to be transferred to other student’s accounts.

What if I do not have access to the internet?

We are happy to assist you in maintaining your student's account.

For elementary students, please contact the school and we will place you on a list to receive reminder slips to be sent home with your student. Once per week the reminder slips will be sent home if the account reaches a balance of $6 or less.

At the middle and high schools, cashiers will make every effort to alert students when account balances are getting low. Students may also check their balances as they make their purchases.

Can I call to get my student's balance?

The Grand Rapids Christian Schools Food Services are happy to assist you. You may also call the Hot Lunch office at (616) 574-5500. Our priority is student service, we may not be able to take your call during lunch. Please leave a voicemail and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

What happens if a student account is $0 or less?

We cannot provide credit. However, we will allow a 3 meal grace period if a student account is negative. Only a qualifying federal meal will be provided and the price will be deducted from the account. If we do not receive a deposit during the grace period the student will not be able to have hot lunch.  

At the high school, students will not be able to charge à La Carte drinks and snacks.

May I get a refund from my child's account?

We are happy to transfer funds between your children's accounts. All lunch balances are carried over to the following school year.  We urge all families and senior year students to monitor their lunch balances beginning in April to avoid leaving an excess balance on their account.

There is no fee to register at to access your child's account usage and balances.

Unfortunately, we do not refund hot lunch balances.

What are the school meal patterns?

The USDA regulates the school meal patterns and specifies the size of each portion. A school lunch must include five components as determined by the federal regulations. The five lunch components include a meat/meat alternative, one serving of bread/grain, vegetable, fruit and fluid milk.

  • Meals are based on the average calories for a 5-day week:
    • Grades K-5th: 550-650 calories
    • 6th-8th: 600-700 calories
    • Grades 9th-12th : 750-850 calories

What is a meat alternative?

A meat alternative is a non-meat complete protein, such as cheese, yogurt, nuts or soybean products.

What is Offer vs. Serve?

Offer versus Serve is a concept that was adopted by Congress in 1975 to permit students a choice in selecting the food they prefer, and reducing food waste in schools. Under this concept, a student is offered all five meal components for lunch; but must choose at least three components with one of them being a fruit or vegetable serving to qualify for the hot lunch price or meal benefits. 

Are school meals nutritious?

At least once every three years the Michigan Department of Education is required to conduct a nutrition review to determine that the school district is meeting the nutrition standards set by the USDA. Our menus are designed to meet or exceed the nutrient standards for calories, calcium, iron, Vitamin A & C, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and dietary fiber.

Paying for Hot Lunch


LUNCH $2.70 $2.85 $3.10
REDUCED LUNCH $.40 $.40 $.40
 MILK $.50 $.50 $.50

The Meal Magic Student Account System

  • Designed like a debit account, it eliminates the need for students to carry cash to school.
  • Allows you to deposit money to a student account for use on any day, eliminating the morning lunch money hassle.
  • Simple, convenient and designed to improve our services.
  • Improves the speed of our lunch lines, giving students more time to eat.
  • Protects the identity and privacy of students receiving meal benefits

What is

Send Money to School

Provided by Meal Magic Corporation, is used in many school districts in Michigan and other states.  It provides a safe, secure and convenient way to make deposits to student meal accounts. Please note that does charge a nominal convenience fee for deposits made with a credit/debit card. No fees are charged for checks or cash sent to schools for deposits made to accounts. Grand Rapids Christian Schools does not receive any portion of this fee. We are providing this service for your convenience.

To view your student's account balance, history or to make an online deposit, you must first set up an account at

download instructions
to create an account
or make a deposit.

Deposits can be made at any time and there is no need to indicate which days your student will be eating.  You may make deposits online or send cash, check or money order to school.  There is no fee for check or cash deposits made at school or by mail.

Free and Reduced Meal Benefits and Application

Over 30 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program every day.
Over 50% receive free meals.

Free and Reduced-price meal benefits are available from the federal government. Applications are available at You may pick up an application at your child's school office or contact Food Service and we will confidentially mail you a family application. Only one application is needed per family.

Free and Reduced
Lunch Application

To complete the family application securely online, please visit then select "Apply" on the left tab.

If your child received free or reduced-price meals in our school district last year, you must re-apply to be eligible for continued benefits. Please complete and return your new application as soon as possible to avoid interruption in service for your child.

For questions on Free and Reduced Meal Benefits, please contact Mrs. Jill Zondag, Hot Lunch Account Coordinator.

Jill Zondag

Hot Lunch Account Coordinator


Do I need to fill out an application for each child?

  • No. Complete one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Family 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.
  • You may go online to complete an application at
  • Or manually complete family applications by calling Nancy McCarthy, at 616-574-5500, and she will gladly mail you an application.

Who can get free meals?

  • Children in households getting Food Assistance Program (FAP), Family Independence Program (FIP), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), can get free meals regardless of your income. 
  • Also, your children can get free meals if your household income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Guidelines.

Can foster children get free meals?

  • Yes, foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals. Any foster child in the household is eligible for free meals regardless of income. 
  • They may also be included as household members on family applications if other family members wish to apply for free or reduced price meals.

Can homeless, runaway, and migrant children get free meals?

  • Yes, children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant qualify for free meals. 
  • If you haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please call your Homeless Liaison or Migrant Coordinator, to see if your child(ren) qualify.

Who can get reduced price meals?

  • Your children can get low cost meals if your household income is within the reduced price limits on the Federal Income Guidelines, included in the application packet.

Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children are approved for free meals?

  • Please read the letter you received carefully and follow any instructions provided. 
  • Call the school at 616 574-5500 and ask for Nancy McCarthy, if you have questions.

My child’s application was approved last year. Do I need to fill out another one?

  • Yes. Your child’s application is only good for that school year.
  • You must send in a new application each year.

I get women, infants and children (WIC). Can my child(ren) get free meals?

  •  Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. 
  • An application must be filled out by WIC households.

Will the information I give be verified?

  • Yes, we may ask you to send written proof of any information provided on the application.

If I don’t qualify, may I apply later?

  • Yes. You may apply at any time during the school year if your house-hold size goes up, income goes down, or if you start getting FAP, FIP, FDPIR, or other benefits. 
  • If you lose your job, your child(ren) may be able to get free or reduced price meals.

What if I disagree with the schools’ decision about my application?

  • You should talk to school officials. 
  • You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to:
    Jim Primus, GRCS CFO
    2400 Plymouth Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • Or phone, 616-574-6000.

May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. Citizen?

  • Yes. You or your child(ren) do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for free or reduced price meals.

Who should I include as members of my household?

  • You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. 
  • You must include yourself and all children living with you. 
  • If you live with other people who are economically independent (for example, people who you do not support, who do not share income with you or your children, and who pay a pro-rated share of the expenses), do not include them.

What if my income is not always the same?

  • List the amount that you normally get. 
  • For example, if you normally get $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only got $900, put down that you get $1000 per month. 
  • If you normally get overtime, include it, but not if you get it only sometimes. 
  • If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

We are in the military. Do we include our housing allowance as income?

  • If you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. 
  • However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.

What if my child(ren) do not have health insurance?

  • Your child(ren) may qualify for low cost or free health insurance through MIChild and Healthy Kids Program. 
  • To apply online, go to or call 1-888-988-6300 for help or to request a paper application.

My spouse is deployed to a combat zone. Is his/her combat pay counted as income?

  • No, if the combat pay is received in addition to his/her basic pay because of his/her deployment and it wasn’t received before he/she was deployed, combat pay is not counted as income. 
  • Contact your school for more information.

My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for?

  • To find out how to apply for Food Assistance Program (FAP) or other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call 1-800-481-4989.

Summer Food Service Program

Meet up and eat up.  Healthy food to fuel your summer.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was created to ensure that children in lower-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they do not have access to the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs. 

Get more information about the Summer Food Service Program and locations here.

Additional Information & Resources

 Add money to your child's hot lunch account online:

Send Money to School






Nancy McCarthy, Food Services Director

Jill Zondag, Hot Lunch Account Coordinator


2300 Plymouth Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Phone: 616.574.5500
Fax:  616.574.5510