USDA extends free meal options for children through entire 2020-21 school year

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending no-cost meal flexibility through the end of the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending no-cost meal flexibility through the end of the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending no-cost meal flexibility through the end of the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow free meals to be available to all children through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Oct. 9.

The USDA had previously extended child nutrition waivers through December, but the new flexibility announced Oct. 9 will allow school districts to leverage their Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option programs to continue providing free meals to all children through June 30, 2021, according to a news release.

“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,” Perdue said in the release. “We are grateful for the heroic efforts by our school food service professionals who are consistently serving healthy meals to kids during these trying times, and we know they need maximum flexibility right now.”

The added flexibility further allows for meals to be served out of the normally required group settings and meal times and allows for districts to pick up meals for children, according to the release.

School Nutrition Association President Reggie Ross said in a statement that the organization welcomes the extension.


"These waiver extensions are great news for America’s students and the school nutrition professionals working so hard to support them throughout this pandemic," Ross said. “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.”
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


MOST RECENT

Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hewlett Packard Enterprise to relocate headquarters from Silicon Valley to Springwoods Village

Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced Dec. 1 plans to relocate its headquarters from San Jose, California to a brand new campus in the Greater Houston area, which is under construction in CityPlace at Springwoods Village.

CCEMS provides emergency medical services for approximately 177 square miles of North Harris County. (Courtesy Cypress Creek EMS)
Judge rules Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 can no longer withhold payments from Cypress Creek EMS

The ESD No. 11 board voted to terminate its contract with CCEMS on Sept. 3 after a long history of disagreements over the two entities’ 16-year relationship.

Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital is undergoing an expansion. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Work on $250M Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital expansion continues, completion expected in 2022

The new patient tower at Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital will include for 100 more beds.

To support this initiative, community members are encouraged to visit NAM's Blessing Tree, located at 15555 Kuykendahl Road, Houston, where they can choose a child's name and shop specifically for that child. (Courtesy Northwest Assistance Ministries)
Northwest Assistance Ministries in need of donations to support biggest Season of Blessings campaign in nonprofit's history

Northwest Assistance Ministries is in need of toys, food and monetary donations to provide meals to more than 1,700 families and toys to more than 5,300 children this holiday season. By comparison, the nonprofit provided meals for 994 families and toys for 1,773 children in 2019.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has launched a campaign to address declining college enrollment numbers across the state since the pandemic started. (Courtesy Pexels)
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launches campaign to boost college enrollment

The decline in college enrollment across the state of Texas has prompted several agencies to partner up and create online resources for students and counselors.

(Courtesy Press Waffle Co.)
Press Waffle Co. set to open in The Woodlands on Dec. 4

The restaurant features sweet and savory waffles, gourmet milkshakes, and coffee and espresso drinks.

(Courtesy Shake Shack)
The Woodlands area welcomes 3 new dining locations in November with 4th coming soon

Three new dining locations opened around The Woodlands in November, with a fourth coming soon.

Community Impact Newspaper uses data from the Montgomery County Public Health District for weekly case counts. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Active COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County rise 34% over Thanksgiving week from Nov. 23-30

Active cases increased from 2,513 to 3,365; recoveries grew from 10,655 to 11,019; and the death toll has remained the same at 169.

The Montgomery County commissioners discussed reimbursement payments to various entities for coronavirus expenditures. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery County Commissioners defer CARES Act reimbursements a week

The requested amounts to the counties are for expenses incurred due to the coronavirus.

Howard Hughes
Howard Hughes Corp. announces plans for remaining commercial development in The Woodlands

The last 700 acres of commercial property to be developed in The Woodlands are located mainly in Town Center or on the periphery of the township, according to The Howard Hughes Corp.

Dozens of clinics throughout the county offer COVID-19 testing services. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19 testing locations remain open in Montgomery County and more local news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.