USDA extending free meals for kids program through 2020-2021 school year with help of Trump administration

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FILE – In this Thursday, May 4, 2017 file photo, a third-grader punches in her student identification to pay for a meal at Gonzales Community School in Santa Fe, N.M. The Trump administration is proposing a rollback of nutrition guidelines for federal school meals programs that had been promoted by Michelle Obama as part of her campaign to combat child obesity. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee, file)

CLEVELAND (WJW) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is extending the free meals for kids program through the 2020-2021 school year.

According to a press release, extending the waivers will help with the following:  

  • 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.
  • Allow parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children.

“As our nation recovers and reopens, we want to ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious breakfasts and lunches they count on during the school year wherever they are, and however they are learning,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We are grateful for the heroic efforts by our school food service professionals who are consistently serving healthy meals to kids during these trying times, and we know they need maximum flexibility right now. I appreciate President Trump for his unwavering commitment to ensuring kids receive the food they need during this pandemic and for supporting USDA in continuing to provide these unprecedented flexibilities.”  

Additional flexibilities are being granted on a state-by-state basis, as required by law, to facilitate a wide range of meal service options and accommodate other operational needs. 

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