The United States Department of Agriculture has extended waivers to provide free meals to all students 18 and under through December 2020. The welcomed action is in response to growing food insecurity due to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. 100% of the foodservice providers we surveyed agree that universal school breakfast and lunch is key to fighting hunger in America. The USDA waivers will go a long way in making this a reality as schools are concerned with budgeting to cover food and foodservice staff.
The USDA program is essentially an extension of nationwide waivers allowing schools to continue their Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the end of the year. All schools operating SFSP and SSO programs can feed children for free during in-person, remote, or hybrid learning. Many state agencies have gone one step further and approved weekend and holiday meals to be included in school SFSP and SSO offerings.
Eat REAL has launched our own COVID-19 Support Program network of 2,000+ schools and continues to advocate for universal school meals for all children.