USDA to extend free meal program for children

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Trays of food at a school cafeteria. (KOIN)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCIA) — Officials with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced they will extend summer meal services through the fall months.

A press release from USDA said it will help ensure children have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. It added USDA has been committed, and will continue its commitment to using Congressional funds.

“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy, and nutritious food,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “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.

“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.”

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