Posted Date: 09/04/2020
The USDA – in an unprecedented move, due to the pandemic – is going to make school breakfast and lunch available FREE to all children through December 31. Lunch and breakfast will be available free every day to all students in attendance for in-person learning; the free program went into effect Thursday, September 3. This means that even students who are not ordinarily part of the free or reduced lunch programs will also be included in these free meal distributions.
“In my 35 years of working with the school lunch program, the USDA has never done anything remotely like this,” said Lisa Griffin, director of Child Nutrition. “Meals will literally be free for all children, which is historic.”
Next week, Union will be announcing drive-thru pick-up locations, days and times for free meals for all children, even those who are participating in virtual learning. Stay tuned for more information!
Union Public Schools is still asking for your help to complete the 2020-2021 Free and Reduced Meal Application online if you have not already done so. Union Public Schools receives funding based on the number of people who have applied for this assistance. Complete form here: http://unionps.schoollunchapp.com
“The district needs these free and reduced forms completed to provide funds for teacher and staff salaries, equipment, supplies, books, and technology and internet service,” Griffin said.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend several flexibilities through as late as December 31, 2020. The flexibilities allow summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all children into the fall months. This unprecedented move will help ensure – no matter what the situation is on-the-ground – children have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA has been and continues to be committed to using the Congressionally appropriated funding that has been made available.
“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy, and nutritious food. During the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA has provided an unprecedented amount of flexibilities to help schools feed kids through the school meal programs, and today, we are also extending summer meal program flexibilities for as long as we can, legally and financially,” said Secretary Perdue. “We appreciate the incredible efforts by our school foodservice professionals year in and year out, but this year we have an unprecedented situation. This extension of summer program authority will employ summer program sponsors to ensure meals are reaching all children – whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually – so they are fed and ready to learn, even in new and ever-changing learning environments.”
“School Nutrition Association greatly appreciates USDA addressing the critical challenges shared by our members serving students on the frontlines these first weeks of school. These waivers will allow school nutrition professionals to focus on nourishing hungry children for success, rather than scrambling to process paperwork and verify eligibility in the midst of a pandemic." said School Nutrition Association (SNA) President Reggie Ross, SNS. "We look forward to continuing our dialogue with USDA to ensure school meal programs are equipped to meet the future needs of America’s students.” See USDA release