The USDA has extended its pandemic free meals program so kids can get free meals all summer. This provides meals for all school-aged kids and they’re 100% free, regardless of income.
Normally, families have to qualify for free or reduced price meals, and schools are required to follow specific rules about meal times, but they’ve been waving the rules to help more kids get fed during the pandemic. Now they’ve extended these waivers through at least September 30, 2021. Thewaivers vary by stateand according to theUSDAthey:
- Allow meals served through theSummer Food Service Program (SFSP)andSeamless Summer Option (SSO)– collectively known as “summer meal programs” – 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.
- Allow parents and guardians to pick up meals for their kids, including bulk pick-up to cover feeding children for multiple days.
The USDA reports that right now up to 12 million kids are living in households where they may not have enough to eat, so these summer meals are more essential than ever. During the summer, meals may be available at churches and community centers, in addition to schools. And the USDA has aSummer Meal Finderto help you find a location near you.