USDA extends free meals for children waivers

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the nationwide extension of several waivers that allow all children to continue to receive nutritious meals this summer when schools are out of session. These flexibilities are now available through Sept. 30.

USDA is extending these waivers to provide local program operators with clarity and certainty for the summer months ahead, when many children cannot access the school meals they depend on during the academic year. The waivers were previously extended only through June 30.

The waivers extended allow for safe meal distribution sites that serve all children for free. In addition, the waivers allow meals served through the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option to be made available in all areas at no cost, allow meals to be served outside of the normally required group settings and meal times and allow parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children, including bulk pick-up to cover multiple days of feeding children.

Summer meal sites are places where children and youth 18 and under can receive meals at no cost in a safe environment. The meals are also available to persons over 18 with mental or physical disabilities. Sites may be located in a variety of settings including schools, parks, community centers, libraries, churches and more.

To learn more about how the program works and the role of sponsors and meal sites, visit fns.usda.gov/sfsp/how-become-sponsor.

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