Free Meals for All Kids extended by USDA

Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 11:51 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIBW) - The USDA is thanking school nutrition partners for their dedicated service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says President Donald Trump proclaimed Oct. 12-16 National School Lunch Week 2020, focusing on the role of school nutrition professionals in making sure kids in all communities get nutritious food, despite the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The USDA said to keep the work going, Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the continued extension of nationwide flexibilities allowing free school meals for all kids throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year.

“As our nation recovers and reopens, we want to ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious breakfasts and lunches they count on during the school year wherever they are, and however they are learning,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are grateful for the heroic efforts by our school foodservice professionals who are consistently serving healthy meals to kids during these trying times, and we know they need maximum flexibility right now. I appreciate President Trump for his unwavering commitment to ensuring kids receive the food they need during this pandemic and for supporting USDA in continuing to provide these unprecedented flexibilities.”

“Children can’t focus on learning if they are hungry,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps. “And despite the unprecedented circumstances, Americans can count on USDA’s child nutrition programs and our hard-working partners in communities across America to ensure our nation’s schoolchildren get the food they need to grow and thrive.”

According to the USDA, leaders thanked President Trump for signing into law the continued support extending funding allowing it to make the move. It said since the announcement, many partners have joined in expressing their gratitude.

“With continued school disruptions, our network of member food banks were eager to see the United States Department of Agriculture take action to extend critical child nutrition waivers until the end of the academic year. School meals are the only reliable source of nutrition each day for millions of children in this country, and this announcement will ensure that families are not turned away or forced to go to another location to access meals,” said Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer, Feeding America.

In September the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Pam Miller said she recognized the importance of school food service workers on National Food Service Workers Day, thanking them for their work and dedication throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on COVID-19 response food programs, click here.

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