Pittsburg starts free summer meals for kids, find programs near you

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PITTSBURG, Kan. – Kids and teens can start getting free summer meals in several cities throughout the U.S.

The Pittsburg USD 250 Summer Meals Program started today. It runs June 1 through July 30, 2021, and is free to all children and teens ages 1-18, not just USD 250 students. No registration or identification is required.

“The Summer Meals Program is incredible for our community, and I am proud of our staff who work so hard to make sure kids are fed. The food services team found a way to make it work through the pandemic last summer and during the school year. I have no doubt they will continue to see success in this program.” says Mr. Richard Proffitt, Superintendent of Schools.

You can find a Summer Meal Site Finder for your area here.

Last summer, with Covid restrictions, the USD 250 Food Service staff served over 80,000 meals to kids and teens in the community. It’s part of the federally-funded, state-administered Summer Food Service Program.

SFSP reimburses program operators who serve free healthy meals and snacks to children and teens in low-income areas. Those seeking a location in their area can text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call 1-866-348-6479 to find a site near you.

USDA Extends Free Meals due to Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended several waivers to allow all children to continue to receive nutritious meals this summer while schools are out of session. These flexibilities are now available through Sept. 30, 2021.

The waivers were previously extended only through June 30, 2021.

“We will do everything we can to make sure children get access to healthy, nutritious meals regardless of their families’ financial circumstances,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Our child nutrition professionals are doing a heroic job ensuring kids across the country have proper nutrition throughout this public health emergency, often times with limited resources. USDA is committed to providing local operators with the flexibilities and resources they need to continue offering the best meal service possible to their children, given their day-to-day realities.”

The waivers extended allow for safe meal distribution sites that serve all children for free, regardless of income. In addition, the waivers:

  • Allow meals served through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) – collectively known as “summer meal programs” – to be made available in all areas at no cost;
  • Allow meals to be served outside of the normally required group settings and meal times; and
  • Allow parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children, including bulk pick-up to cover multiple days of feeding children.