The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers the nations school meal programs, is acting to make it easier to provide food to low-income kids, as schools from Seattle to New York City close over the threat of coronavirus COVID-19.
“If schools are closed, we are going to do the very best we can with the tools we have to get those kids fed,” said the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Monday afternoon at the School Nutrition Associations (SNA) legislative conference, where food service and nutrition professionals discussed how to feed students, especially those from low-income households, during coronavirus-related shutdowns.
In a March 5 letter to Perdue, the SNA asked the USDA to waive the requirements for congregate feeding to allow grab-and-go services; expand eligibility for the Summer Food Service Program; and allow schools to deliver meals to multiple satellite sites throughout their communities, so that families are less dependent on public transportation to get food.
“Were going to be as flexible as we absolutely can with the regulations that Food and Nutrition Services have,” Perdue responded when SNAs leadership addressed those proposals with him.
Over the weekend, the department has approved waiver requests by the states of Washington and California to allow meal service during school closures. Those meals are available through June 30 at no cost to low-income children, and are not required to be served in a group setting. Other states have also been notified of the opportunity to request waivers related to meal service during these unanticipated closures.
In recent years, the USDA maintained a good record of easing the rules to help school children get their much-needed food during disasters and emergencies. After the floods hit Nebraska in March 2019, the USDA approved the states request for temporary flexibiliRead More – Source