TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services

Free Meal for All TCAPS Students at All TCAPS Buildings

Daily Meal Distribution Beginning November 30

Beginning Monday, November 30th, daily meals will be available for pick up at all school buildings from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. each weekday. Families may pick up meals from any TCAPS building. Weekend meals will also be available with Friday distributions beginning December 4. 

Meal Delivery Information

Families who have transportation or scheduling issues and are not able to pick up meals during the daily meal distribution timeframe may sign up for meal delivery by completing this Google FormsMeal Delivery Request Form. Please contact if you have any questions or need to request a change/cancellation of meal delivery.

External LinkView Online School Menus

At this time there is no Saturday meal distribution scheduled. Please continue to monitor this page and your email, for meal information as school updates are released. 

Thank you for your support of TCAPS Food Service! 

For Students With Allergies

For students with allergies, please contact the school you will be picking up from so they can order the food required. Please fill out this form and return it to your pick up area so that we can legally substitute the needed food for the student's allergies.

**Apply Today for Free & Reduced Meals 

 Applications should be completed each year; these applications are also used for several other grant programs in TCAPS. In addition, students who qualify for free and reduced meals also qualify for college application fee waivers and SAT/ACT fee waivers. So please submit your Free & Reduced Meals Application here.

2020-2021 Food & Nutrition Services Plan

Google DocAdditional information regarding the 2020-2021 Food and Nutrition Services plan can be found here.

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

Meal Programs

Summer Meal Programs

  • The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a national program that offers nutritious free meals for children and teens, ages 18 and younger, at several locations throughout the nation during the summer while school is out of session. External LinkUse this mapping tool to find the location nearest you.

2020-21 Food Service News Update

10 Cents a Meal Program

TCAPS has applied for another year of participating in the 10 Cents a Meal Program which is a program where the district receives 10 cents from the State for every 20 cents of Michigan produce the district purchases. This is a program that TCAPS helped begin locally and it has expanded throughout Michigan. We are now in our 7th year of participation in this program. Please see the information below on the latest news on the expansion of this program. 

Governor Whitmer signed the state’s budget for the next fiscal year, which goes into effect in October. Despite tight state finances, she and the legislature affirmed the value of the program by expanding it statewide. 

Funding for the 10 Cents a Meal grant program was increased from $575,000 to $2 million in the 2021 budget and expanded the program to allow schools across the entire state to apply for the first time,  instead of just pilot regions. Additionally for the first time, sponsors of early childhood education centers that are successfully participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are eligible to apply.

TCAPS Announces New Free Meal Distribution Site

(posted 9/17/20)

Meal Pickups on Saturdays at Traverse City West Middle School

TCAPS will continue to provide free nutritious meals to all children age 18 or under (or students with disabilities under age 26) through the end of 2020 (or until funding runs out**). Beginning Saturday, September 19, 2020, meal distribution will be offered once per week on Saturdays at Traverse City West Middle School (3950 Silver Lake Rd.).

Meals for families participating in the UpNorth Virtual program and children within the community can receive an entire week’s worth of meal components each Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Students returning to face-to-face instruction on September 21, 2020, will receive daily meals at their school. Beginning September 26, 2020, they can pick up weekend meals on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Meals will be distributed in the front parking lot between the main entrance and the loading dock. The person picking up the meals is asked to stay in their car. Food service staff members will deliver the meals directly to you.

Google DocAdditional information regarding the 2020-2021 Food and Nutrition Services plan can be found here.

**Apply Today for Free & Reduced Meals 

The USDA waivers that are allowing TCAPS to offer these free meals to families are set to expire on 12/31/20, but the USDA has also announced that they may expire sooner. Due to this announcement, we strongly recommend that parents apply for free and reduced priced meals now. That will allow students that qualify for free and reduced meals to seamlessly receive those benefits if the USDA announces that the free meals are ending. Applications must be completed each year; those applications are also used for several other grant programs in TCAPS. In addition, students who qualify for free and reduced meals also qualify for college application fee waivers and SAT/ACT fee waivers. So please submit your Free & Reduced Meals Application here.

For students with allergies, please fill out this form and return it to your school on an annual basis.

COVID-19 Update: TCAPS Announces Meal Distribution Program to Continue Through Summer

Silver Lake Elementary, Long Lake Elementary, and Traverse Heights Elementary to serve as summer meal distribution sites

 (posted June 10, 2020)

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce that beginning on June 15th, the district will continue to distribute meals throughout the summer months at three locations: Silver Lake Elementary School, Long Lake Elementary School and Traverse Heights Elementary School.

Nutritious bagged meals will continue to be distributed through August 31st. The East Middle School location will close for the summer after the Friday, June 12th meal distribution.

TCAPS will continue meal distributions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The distribution sites are open from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and location addresses are: Long Lake Elementary School (7600 N. Long Lake Rd.), Silver Lake Elementary School (5858 Culver Rd.), and Traverse Heights Elementary School (933 Rose St.).

Please note: Meal distribution sites will be closed Friday, July 3rd, in honor of the Fourth of July holiday. During that week, sites will be open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Additional meals will be provided to families on Thursday to get them through the weekend.

Additional distributions of items to support families during this time will continue to occur during the summer as well, as long as supplies are available, and as pop-up pantries and other item distributions are coordinated at the sites.

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 participates in the “External LinkCultivate Michigan” program, an effort to bring more local foods to institutions. Our goal is to purchase 20% of our food products from the state of Michigan by 2020. We are currently partnering with Cherry Capital Foods, Gordon Food Service, and individual growers to achieve this goal.

Gordon Food Service also has a program focusing on local food purchases, called “Near Buy“.  View listings of Michigan produced foods and products purchased by TCAPS:

cultivate-Michigan- Supply, source and serve local food           Cherry-Capital-Foods-logo

     gordon-food-service logo                                    

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

  • Aunt Millie's Bakery
  • Farm to Freezer Northwest Michigan
  • Food Rescue
  • Louie's Meats, Inc.
  • MI Farm Coop
  • Norconk Farms
  • Pepsi
  • 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, 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) found online at: External, 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:

  • Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  • Fax: 202.690.7442; or
  • Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

2019-2020 School Year News

TCAPS has had a farm to school program for 17 years.

TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services Team Explores Food Distribution Network

TCAPS Food & Nutrition Services team on food distribution network field trip

On February 17, 2020,  the Food & Nutrition Services team leaders took a field trip to the Gordon Food Service (GFS) distribution center, GFS corporate offices and Square Roots to learn about their food distribution network. 

Gordon Food Service Food Distribution NetworkStorage shelves at Gordon Food Service distribution center

January 28, 2020: 9and10 News Story

Watch the External Link9and10 News story featuring TCAPS' Food and Nutrition Services staff as they share their thoughts on the proposed USDA school meal changes. 

Digital Menu Boards

TCAPS will pilot menu boards at two elementary schools, Blair and Cherry Knoll. These boards are like the ones we use in our middle and high schools. The goal is to eventually add the menu boards to all of the elementary schools. 

My School Menus - Interactive Online Menu System

TCAPS utilizes an interactive, online menu system that gives parents all the information they need to make sure their children are getting a nutritious meal. This system allows the customer to filter out food by allergen and monitor carbs by selection of the food chosen to eat in that day’s meal. Please download the My School Menus phone app so that you have it with you at all times. Learn more at

Students to Participate in Healthy Taste Tests

TCAPS will continue to expand taste testing of healthy produce and other products to encourage students to try foods they may otherwise not try and possibly find new foods that they enjoy.

Cafeteria ID Cards

All elementary buildings have an ID card system in the cafeteria to allow students to move through the lunch line quicker and have more time to eat.

Got Milk?

TCAPS has received a grant from the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. To promote our milk sales, we have received insulated milk barrels and wraps to put on our milk coolers.

Milk Barrel Wraps

Food & Nutrition Services

TCAPS will continue to look for new and nutritious foods and innovative ways to enhance our customer's dining experience.