SPRINGFIELD – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Friday free meals will be available to continue for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
The extension is part of a commitment to all children across the United States to have access to nutritious food as the nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
The waver will allow the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Department to operate Summer Meals programs through June 30th, 2021.
“These waiver extensions are great news for America’s students and the school nutrition professionals working so hard to support them throughout this pandemic,” said School Nutrition Association President Reggie Ross, SNS. “Families struggling to make ends meet can be assured that their students will have access to healthy school meals, whether they are learning at home or in school. School meal programs can remain focused on safely meeting nutritional needs of children in their communities without having to worry about burdensome regulations. The School Nutrition Association appreciates USDA’s ongoing efforts to address the many challenges our members have faced while working on the frontlines to feed hungry children.”