USDA extends free meal program for schools; applies to all Tri-State public schools

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(WEHT) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend several flexibilities through as late as December 31, which will allow summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all children.

The free meals start Friday for EVSC students. The EVSC says funds in school lunch accounts can be used next semester.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is extending a suite of nationwide waivers for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the end of 2020, or until available funding runs out. This includes:

  • Allowing SFSP and SSO meals to be served in all areas and at no cost;
  • Permitting meals to be served outside of the typically-required group settings and meal times;
  • Waiving meal pattern requirements as necessary; and
  • Allowing parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children.

“These waivers ensure schools can continue to safely meet students’ nutritional needs this fall. In the midst of a pandemic, no family should have to worry about their child missing out on healthy school breakfast or lunch. School meal programs face unprecedented challenges and need the assurance that these critical waivers will be available through the entire school year. SNA will continue working with USDA and Congress to further extend these waivers to support school meal programs and the students we serve,” School Nutrition Association (SNA) President Reggie Ross said.

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(This story was originally published on Sept. 10, 2020)

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