The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will extend free meals for kids through the end of this year, as long as funding allows, following criticism from educators and parents.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Monday that the department will continue its Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option, including flexibilities it has allowed during the coronavirus pandemic, into the fall.
Perdue’s announcement indicated the meals would be served through the end of 2020 or “until available funding runs out.”
The programs usually are dedicated to providing meals to students during the summer months, but when the COVID-19 pandemic sparked school closures in March, the department started the programs early this year.
“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,” Perdue said in a statement.