USDA extends free lunch

The United States Department of Agriculture announced that they will extend free lunches to all students across the country for the 2021-2022 school year.
For the 2020-21 school year, the USDA introduced Child Nutrition Program waivers, in an attempt to allow counties and schools to fill the needs of their families. These waivers are vital in the time of COVID, as it brings financial struggle to many families.
In March, the USDA announced that these waivers would only be available until Sept. 30, which left many families worried whether they would be able to provide food for their children.
Now that the USDA has approved to extend these waivers to all students for the entire school year, many families feel relieved.
“USDA answered the call to help America’s schools and childcare institutions serve high quality meals while being responsive to their local needs as children safely return to their regular routines,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “This action also increases the reimbursement rate to school meal operators so they can serve healthy foods to our kids. It’s a win-win for kids, parents and schools.”
These waivers will allow students to eat outside of normal meal time in order to ensure everyone’s needs are met. This also allows for curbside pickup of meals that will last many days for students who are learning virtually and even for them to be dropped off to the students’ homes if needed.
The waivers are important during this time of struggle to help combat food insecurity. Many families struggle to provide enough food for their families to be happy and healthy.
“It provides an equal opportunity to all students regardless of family income,” junior Zack Pacak said. “Whatever their situation may be, they will have an opportunity to get a lunch that will help them continue to focus throughout the day.”
These waivers will also help counties and schools as they are preparing for the school year. They can plan for their budget, as well as not have to rush to get all the forms in for free and reduced lunch.
As families prepare for the next school year, providing food will be less of a worry with this plan.