The USDA has extended critically needed waiver flexibilities for summer meal programs to September 30, 2021.
These waivers make it easier for schools, local government agencies and non-profit organizations to feed children through the federally-funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO).
The extended waivers include:
Flexibility on meal service times, which allows meal sponsors to distribute serve multiple meals at the same time.
Allowing meals to be served outside of group settings (congregate) so families can pick up meals at designated sites and meal serving organizations can deliver meals to children’s homes.
Allowing parent or guardians to pick up meals without children being present.
Providing flexibility in the type of meals sponsors are required to serve when needed due to supply chain challenges.
Allowing meals to be distributed for free to all children regardless of a community’s level of poverty. Normally, only communities with at least half of children qualified for free or reduced-price school meals can do this.
These rule waivers have been critical to keep children fed as so many New Jersey families struggle to make ends meet during the pandemic. The waivers contributed to a significant increase in summer meals served last year and will likely spur an increase this summer.
For more information about child nutrition programs, visit the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s website.