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School meals will remain free through end of school year

On Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended flexibilities in its Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through June 30, 2021, to allow schools and other sites to continue to provide meals at no cost to all children. The department previously extended free meals through December 2020, based on funding available at the time, but was now able to extend throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year thanks to language in the continuing resolution signed into law by President Trump on Oct. 1, 2020.

The extended waivers:

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

This week marked National School Lunch Week when USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and its partners celebrate the hard work and dedication of all our nation’s school nutrition professionals. This year, more than ever, their efforts have been vital to ensuring children get the nutrition they need. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, school nutrition professionals and FNS have partnered to feed kids – no matter what the situation looks like on the ground. For more information, visit FNS’ COVID Response: Child Nutrition Programs webpage and follow us on Twitter at @USDANutrition.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.


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