USDA extends program for free meals
On Tuesday, April 20, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued flexibilities to allow healthy meals to continue being served free to students at U.S. schools and childcare institutions for the 2021-22 fiscal year as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to reopen schools safely. These flexibilities will extend though June 30, 2022.
USDA extended waivers for free meals due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still affecting schools, students and their communities. These free, healthy meals will greatly benefit those who are most vulnerable as a result of the pandemic, and will ensure students will get the crucial nutrition they need to succeed in school.
According to USDA, schools nationwide will be allowed to serve meals through USDA’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO), which is usually only available during the summer months. Schools that choose this option will receive higher-than-normal meal reimbursements for every meal they serve, which will support them in serving the most nutritious meals possible while managing increased costs associated with pandemic-related operational and supply chain challenges.
Schools will continue to see waived restrictions regarding meals as they continue to be affected by COVID and plan for the future. More information can be read at https://www.fns.usda.gov/news-item/usda-007521.