TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Schools across the state of Kansas are offering free breakfast and lunch to students this fall thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA is doing this by extending two summer meal programs: the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO).
USDA is extending these programs through this year or until funding runs out. Through these programs, meals are being offered to students regardless of income. These extensions also:
- Permit meals to be served outside of the typically-required group settings and meal times
- Waive meal pattern requirements as necessary
- Allow parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children
Shelly Gunderson, Director of Child Nutrition at Geary County Schools, said this provides districts more flexibility when offering meals to students studying online.
“In a normal situation you would account for the kid at the actual school they attend,” Gunderson said. “This makes it much easier for them to go anywhere close to them and pick up their meals and not have to worry about what school they are going to.”
Gunderson said this is important because often times middle and high school students live farther away from their school than elementary school students.
Other districts like Topeka Public Schools and the Manhattan-Ogden School District are also taking part in the program.
USDA also has an interactive map to help parents find meals for kids when schools are closed.