USDA free meals program for all children extended to June 2021

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 11:17 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A federally-funded free meals program for children was approved to continue until June 30, 2021.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) were extended through the pandemic until Dec. 31, but after additional funding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was able to extend the program through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

Thousands of meals have already been given out across the Valley.

All children under 18 qualify, even if they are homeschooled or out of the district.

Andrea Early, the Executive Director of School Nutrition at Harrisonburg City Public Schools, said the need for families in and around Harrisonburg has “increased significantly” since the beginning of the school year.

On Tuesdays, families can grab meals at all Harrisonburg City Public Schools from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Staff and volunteers also deliver meals to families who do not have the means to pick them up. On Wednesdays, they deliver directly to families.

Back in Sept., Early told WHSV that HCPS teachers, staff, and volunteers were handing out about 1,500 meals on Tuesdays and delivering about 400 on Wednesdays.

As of Oct. 13, between Tuesday and Wednesday, she said they’re distributing about 3,000 meals to local children.

“A lot of community members have stepped up to help volunteer and then on Wednesdays, we have staff members, community members, and some churches who are helping us with our deliveries,” Early said.

Families receive a full week’s worth of meals. Five breakfasts and five lunches, which include fresh produce, a hot meal, and a half-gallon of milk per child.

Early said parents and guardians can come to any Harrisonburg school to pick-up meals. It is not necessary to go to one or all of the schools that children are enrolled at.

Once you get to the school just let the teachers, staff, and volunteers know how many kids need meals and pop your trunk.

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.