Meal flexibilities for next school year
The United States Department of Agriculture has extended a number of nationwide child nutrition waivers through the 2021-22 school year. These waivers will allow many of the service models implemented over the past year to continue through next school year, including the distribution of multiple meals at one time.
The waivers will also provide needed flexibility for alternative service models within schools, like meals in the classroom. Schools may continue serving free meals to all students at the higher Summer Food Service Program reimbursement rate based on the waiver allowing all schools, regardless of location, to operate the Seamless Summer Option through SY21-22.
Free meals mean one less thing for parents and students to think and worry about and will help extend family food budgets. The program waivers also help address critical challenges faced by school nutrition programs and greatly reduce time-consuming administrative and operational burdens. Meal distribution can be streamlined, efficient and faster, which reinforces safety for staff and families while participating in alternative methods of meal service delivery.
Marketing is one of the most effective tools for increasing participation in school meals. Promoting school meals on a regular basis can remind families that school meals are something that they can rely on. No Kid Hungry has launched a School Meals Marketing Toolkit, that includes a variety of both ready to use and customizable resources in English and Spanish.