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USDA extends universal free lunch through next school year, bringing relief to millions of food-insecure families [washingtonpost.com]

 

By Laura Reiley, The Washington Post, April 20, 2021

The United States Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday it would extend universal free lunch through the 2021-2022 school year, in an effort to reach more of the estimated 12 million youths experiencing food insecurity.

In March, the USDA said these waivers, which made school meals more flexible to administer,would be extended only to Sept. 30, leaving schools and families uncertain about what next school year might look like.

Child nutrition program waivers, which aimed to cut through red tape to allow kids to eat free even outside normal meal times,were implemented at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when millions of families faced financial strain, hunger and hardship. The waivers allowed schools and community organizations to adapt programs to better meet the needs of children and families.

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