June 2023

National School
Lunch Program

Whitsons Culinary



Food Services

Meal Program: This School Year

ICS will be participating in the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) this school year. This program is available to schools and districts as part of the waivers issued by USDA.

All ICS students can receive free breakfast and lunch every day. Students are also welcome to bring their own lunch. 

There is no application required under the waiver. However, it could still be beneficial to your family to complete a meal benefit application in case the waiver changes and/or if your family wants to apply for P-EBT card benefits through DHS.


If you do not want your child to purchase school meals at any time, please contact our Food Services Coordinator immediately to place a restriction on the child’s meal account.

P.  215.238.8000 X2228


If you would prefer to send payments to school, payments must be made in cash or money order. Checks are not accepted. Payments must be in a sealed envelope labeled Meal Money. You must include the child’s first and last name, teacher’s name, date, and the amount enclosed. Please do not send more than $20 at a time. ICS is not responsible for lost payments. Payments will be credited to your child’s account within 24 hours, not on the morning you send the payment.

If you do not want your child to purchase school meals at any time, please contact our Food Services Coordinator immediately to place a restriction on the child’s meal account.

Students with negative meal account balances approaching $5 will not be able to purchase school meals until payment is made on the account. Families are responsible for staying informed about their children’s meal account balances. Families can look online or call x2228 on any school day to check their balance. Please make a habit of checking the LunchTime Portal at the beginning of each week to ensure that your child’s meal service is not disrupted.

For your convenience, the LunchTime portal also offers an automated reminder email and/or an automated replenishment option that can be activated in your LunchTime account settings. Even if you do not make payments online, we strongly recommend that you use the LunchTime Portal’s reminders to monitor your balance.

Free or Reduced-Priced Meal Benefits

If the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare has deemed that your child is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals for the current school year through the direct certification process, you have already received a letter from ICS to notify you of that. If you want to find out whether or not your child is eligible for free or reduced-priced school meals, you can complete the application online at School Cafe. Please email our Food Services Coordinator after you complete the application so that ICS can confirm receipt.

Directions: School Cafe

1) To create an account, at the bottom of the screen choose:

State: PA
District: Independence CS
Click “Go to my District”

2) On the “Welcome to Independence CS” screen choose: Create an account –  I am a parent! Then fill in the information required from the parent (first, last, e-mail and phone number). If you prefer, you can “Continue with Google” for faster login.

If you have questions regarding our Food Service Program, or need a paper-application sent with your child; e-mail me at:

Dietary Restrictions

If your child is participating in our meal program, it is important that you provide information regarding any special dietary needs, allergies, or restrictions per the Pennsylvania school nutrition regulations.You must submit an updated note each year to our Nurse’s office from your pediatrician indicating the specific allergy or intolerance. Please let our Food Services Coordinator know that you are submitting this information.

Lunch Food Policy
  • Candy, seeds, and gum will not be allowed at any time during school hours—including in the cafeteria.
  • Drinks other than water, milk, and juice are not permitted during lunch.
  • Soda is not permitted at school at any time, including both the cafeteria and yard.
  • Glass bottles and containers are not permitted at school at any time, including both the cafeteria and yard.
Snack Food Policy
  • In order to maximize learning potential we recommend that parents support students bringing a healthy snack. Attention and concentration will wane on an empty stomach. Healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, granola bars, yogurt, dried fruit and nuts, and water provide extended hours of energy for learning, whereas sugary snacks provide only short-term energy with a “crash”.

    • Candy, seeds, and gum will not be allowed at any time during school hours.
    • Students are permitted to bring a water bottle to drink and refill throughout the day.
    • Drinks other than water will not be permitted in the classroom, even during snack.
    • Soda is not permitted at school at any time, including both the cafeteria and yard.
    • Glass bottles and containers are not permitted at school at any time, including both the cafeteria and yard.
Birthday Celebrations

Check with your child’s teacher each year to find out how they celebrate birthdays in your child’s classroom. Many teachers have special birthday routines in place. Never send food without communicating directly with and receiving permission and clear instructions from your child’s teacher. In general, birthday celebrations with food are not feasible in grades 4-8. If you make a plan with a teacher to send in food, consider sending more nutritious alternatives to cake/cupcakes, and remember that each student only needs one small, pre-portioned serving.

Non-Discrimination Statement

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, 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) 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:

Opening Worlds of Opportunity




      215-238-8000, ext. 2222

      215-238-8000, ext. 2228 (Para español)

      Contact us


1600 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146

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