TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services

Welcome to the Food & Nutrition Services department of the Traverse City Area Public Schools district. We are very proud of our operations and take pride in offering nutritious and delicious meals every day. We encourage input from all of our customers, so feel free to contact TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services Director Tom Freitas at 231.933.1911 with any ideas, suggestions or comments. We look forward to making your dining experience enjoyable.

Our Mission

The mission of TCAPS’ Food and Nutrition Services is to improve the health of students by providing flavorful and nutritious meals at an affordable cost. Our goals are to provide service to the school, to enhance the educational environment, and have a positive impact on the community.  

TCAPS Wellness Policy

NEW- TCAPS Lunch Buddies Program

In collaboration with noon duty staff, the Lunch Buddies program sets out to create an engaging and supportive school environment. Lunch Buddies are hosted at every elementary building in the district on a specific day of the week. TCAPS invites individuals who are passionate about contributing to the growth and success of TCAPS students to join Lunch Buddies as mentors. 

Learn More

Important Food Service Update

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) proudly offers healthy and delicious breakfast and lunch meals to our students every school day in all of our buildings. Our children need these healthy meals to fuel their daily learning. This year, we are pleased to announce that all TCAPS students will receive free breakfast and lunch each school day, due to new State of Michigan legislation. 

Even though all students will receive free meals, we kindly request that all TCAPS families complete the CEP Education Benefits form.

This request is critical as the information obtained from these applications allows TCAPS to apply for grants and state and federal funds for programs that support all students. These programs are essential to TCAPS ability to continue offering all students a world-class education. Completing this form also will help reduce the amount of paid meals that the State of Michigan would have to cover by identifying more students who are eligible for the free and reduced meals program. Our hope is that reducing the costs for the State of Michigan would result in a long-term free meal program for public school students. 

Completing this application is vital to district funding. Please complete the application online at External  You can also print and deliver the application (found below) to your school or mail it to: 

TCAPS Food Service 
1180 Cass Road, 
Traverse City, Michigan 49685 

If you have additional questions, contact TCAPS Food and Nutrition Services at 231-933-1910.

Learn More

Meal Programs

TCAPS offers free breakfast, every school day, at all school buildings.Free TCAPS Breakfast, Served Daily!

TCAPS Food and Nutrition Services would like to remind parents and students that TCAPS offers free breakfast before the start of every school day at every building in the district! 

Secondary buildings offer breakfast in the cafeterias and elementary buildings offer a "grab & go" breakfast for students to enjoy in the classrooms or the cafeterias. TCAPS encourages every student to grab a free breakfast before the start of each school day to ensure every student has the energy necessary to excel!


Meet Up and Eat UpMeet Up, Eat Up Summer Feeding

For anyone interested in the locations of the summer feeding programs in Northern Michigan for this summer, please click on the link below:

All meals served at TCAPS school buildings are served as congregate meals, meaning that the child must stay and consume the meal in the building

No food will be allowed to leave the meal site. We will be serving breakfast and lunch meals on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays at the Blair and Traverse Heights buildings. Please click on the above link for more details on the meal service times and dates. 

Please call the TCAPS Student Support Network if you are interested in receiving meals through the Sunshine Bus Program. 


USDAPDF DocumentNational School Lunch Program & TCAPS Food Service Meal Programs







Suggestion BoxTCAPS Food and Nutrition Services Suggestion Box

Please leave your suggestions for TCAPS Food and Nutrition Services here. Any suggestions submitted to this suggestion box will be considered in our planning to ensure continuous improvements in all of our day to day services and operations. Your responses are anonymous so we cannot respond back to these suggestions. We simply want to use your input to help guide us in our decisions. 


News & Updates

TCAPS Food Service will offer meatless meal options every day in all buildings. This could change on some days due to food supply challenges. TCAPS will also continue to offer all-you-can-eat salad bars in all buildings. At WSH and CHS, we will also continue to offer the all-you-can-eat hot veggie bars.  

We hope all students will join us each day for breakfast and lunch to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals that provide fuel for the day's activities. 

Food service will begin posting the menus online to try and give families more information on what we are planning to serve. Please be aware that due to supply chain disruptions and food shortages we may have to unexpectedly substitute food items that are posted on the menu. These substitutions could change the allergies listed on the online menu. We recommend that parents or the students with allergies check with the kitchen staff daily. Changes will occasionally occur and we want to ensure that all students with allergies are kept safe. Our staff will also continue to monitor all students known to have allergies.

Food Service Fact

TCAPS Food Service offers Michigan produce in our meals, somewhere in our district, nearly every school day of every school year. 

Policy, System, & Environmental Changes (PSE) Updates

December 2022

There has been tremendous progress with the district-wide and individual building wellbeing committees. Our district wellbeing coordinator has actively engaged with staff at each building, a process for proposing health initiatives has been developed by our wellbeing coordinator and approved by both the district wellbeing committee and the Executive Health and Wellbeing Committee, staff surveys have been conducted soliciting needs and wants of staff in individual buildings, and several proposed health and wellbeing initiatives were approved and are in the process of being implemented.

The Pantry to Pre-School initiative, which was funded by the Michigan Health Endowment and involved a regional collaboration, has been successfully implemented at Blair Elementary School. This collaborative initiative has strengthened the communication between individuals and organizations joined by a common cause of improving the health in the region.

November 2022

Work on the district wellbeing initiatives has been ongoing and encouraging.  The Executive Health Committee, in conjunction with the district wellbeing coordinator, has designed a mission statement, a vision that encompasses and ties into the district strategic plan, and a process for anyone suggesting a health initiative to be considered. The district wellbeing coordinator has met with every building principal and discussed the importance of the members of the building wellbeing committee and their commitment. Staff surveys were distributed and the response has been excellent, giving the committee many ideas about what needs to be done to focus on staff wellbeing.  

Staff have attended and participated in the Collab Lab and are using this excellent professional development to improve the collaborations within the Traverse City community.

The SNP-Al collaboration (Successful Nutrition Programs Across the Lifespan) has resulted in a fabulous result: Blair Elementary School is now a part of the Pantry to Pre-School initiative, providing food boxes to families of pre-school students bi-monthly. This involved a collaboration between multiple local and regional partners. It ties into the "Grow It, Try It, Like It" nutrition lessons by providing a healthy recipe and ingredients in the boxes for that recipe. MSU-E has provided illustrated recipes for the boxes and two pantries, Father Fred and Leelanau Christian Neighbors, have facilitated the program.

Having access to healthy food items and meals outside of the normal cafeteria operating hours just got a little bit easier. TCAPS has installed two new vending machines in the cafeteria at both Central High School and West Senior High School as part of a pilot program. The vending machines contain healthy food items that meet the same federal nutrition regulations as all other food sold in the school cafeteria. Sample items include: salads, yogurt, sandwiches, fruit, granola bars, etc.

Students and staff can purchase snack items as well as meals qualifying under the Federal Free and Reduced Price School Meals Program using either cash or their meal accounts. For students who qualify for free/reduced meals, the purchase would count towards their daily meal allowance.


TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services takes great pride in minimizing our environmental footprint in Traverse City. In our buildings using disposables, 95% of the plates and bowls are biodegradable. We will continue to strive for 100% biodegradable product usage. 

TCAPS elementary schools are moving to all online production sheets that will greatly reduce the amount of paper we use over the course of a year. 

TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services is proud to be working with local food vendors this year.  We would like to recognize these Michigan businesses and look forward to future partnerships with other Michigan businesses.

  • Farm to Freezer Michigan
  • Gordon Food Service 
  • Louie's Meats, Inc.
  • MI Farm Coop
  • Norconk Farms
  • Warren Orchards 
  • Pepsi - Traverse City Distributorship
  • Prairie Farms

stafford smith, Inc. logo

grand traverse refrigeration, Inc logohobart

Anti-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted 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; or
  2. fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

 This institution is an equal opportunity provider.