Flexible school meals program extended by USDA

The flexible free school meals program that provided food to children during the summer will be extended at least through the fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Monday.

The agency had planned to end the program at the start of September but was under pressure from lawmakers to extend it, CBS News reported. The program will be extended at least through the fall to keep millions of children fed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement Monday, the USDA said it has “extending a suite of nationwide waivers for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) through the end of 2020, or until available funding runs out.”

That includes: “Allowing SFSP and SSO meals to be served in all areas and at no cost; permitting meals to be served outside of the typically-required group settings and meal times; waiving meal pattern requirements as necessary; allowing parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children,” CBS News reported.