The Agriculture Department is extending waivers to current law so schoolchildren can continue to receive free meals through this summer.

The department said the waivers, which will now be in effect through Sept. 30, “allow for safe meal distribution sites that serve all children for free, regardless of income. In addition, the waivers:

  • “Allow meals served through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless 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; and
  • “Allow parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children, including bulk pickup to cover multiple days of feeding children.”

USDA said up to 12 million children are now living in homes “where they may not always have enough to eat. These critically needed summer meals will provide relief to many children in families who have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and are fighting daily to put food on the table.”

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Reggie Ross, president of the School Nutrition Association, called the extensions "a lifesaver for our school nutrition programs and the students and families we serve."

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