U.S. Department of Agriculture’s free summer meal program extended through 2021

Education 21st Century

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Congress has extended a free, national food program for another year, and it’s impacting students in northeast Kansas.

The United States Department of Agriculture has two summer meal programs that happen every year.

They help feed free breakfast and lunch to students ages 1-18 across the country and in the Topeka Public School’s District.

“We are actually serving meals on the weekends also,” said Chris Wagner, Child Nutrition Specialist for USD 501. “So, we’re serving seven breakfasts and seven lunches that we’re able to be able to pass out at specific sites.”

This year, because of the pandemic, Congress extended the program through the end of 2020 so students can continue getting food through this time of unconventional learning.

Now, they’re extending the program even further, through the end of June 2021.

Wagner said the extension will impact a lot of students in the area positively.

“We have about 70% of our district is free and reduced. So to be able to give kids free meals…all kids free meals…is a win-win,” Wagner said.

The program extension is also good for the district because when students get a meal, the school receives money, helping them to pay food service workers.

Wagner said the district will hand out holiday-themed meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.

Below is the schedule for meal distributions:

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