Contact: USDA Press
Nationwide waivers grant states the flexibility to allow parent pick-up of meals for kids, ease burdens on local meal providers
(WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced additional flexibilities to make it easier for children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities to get food during the COVID-19 national emergency and remove administrative roadblocks for the dedicated local staff who serve them. These changes are in line with USDA’s commitment to keep Americans safe, secure, and healthy during this national emergency and explore all options to keep kids fed during this unprecedented time.
"USDA is committed to maximizing our services and flexibilities to ensure children and others who need food can get it during this Coronavirus epidemic,” said Secretary Perdue. “This is a challenging time for many Americans, but it is reassuring to see our Government and fellow Americans stepping up to the challenges facing us to make sure kids and those facing hunger are fed.”
Under one of the newly-announced waivers, USDA is giving states the option to allow parents or guardians to take meals home to their children. Typically, children would need to be present to receive a meal through USDA’s child nutrition programs.
However, USDA recognizes that this may not be practical during the current COVID-19 outbreak. This flexibility is also available for states to assist seniors and individuals with disabilities served through the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Additional nationwide flexibilities announced today include:
Since the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, USDA has been working tirelessly with states and local authorities to ensure schools and other program operators are empowered to continue feeding children. These flexibilities complement previously-announced nationwide actions that temporarily waive:
USDA will continue to provide technical assistance to help state agencies swiftly implement these flexibilities.
Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of actions that USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has taken to uphold the USDA’s commitment to “Do Right and Feed Everyone” during this national emergency. Other actions include:
These actions and more are part of USDA’s focus on service during the COVID-19 outbreak. To learn more about FNS’s response to COVID-19, visit www.fns.usda.gov/coronavirus
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.