The USDA has announced that its Food and Nutrition Service is providing waivers to simplify existing regulations for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The changes will expand and enhance the ability of the SFSP to provide nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months and long vacation periods for schools on year-round schedules.
"When it comes to our kids, we must do everything we can to provide them with the nutrition they need to grow up and win the future," says Under Secretary Kevin Concannon. "The changes we have made to the Summer Food Service Program will improve program efficiency and start to reduce unnecessary barriers for participation so that local SFSP sponsors who are on the frontlines of ending childhood hunger can provide nutrition assistance to those in need."
Eliminate time restrictions between meal services, giving sponsors added flexibility. Sponsors will no longer be required to ensure that specific time periods elapse between meals or snacks when they schedule meal services at each site.
Extend the "Offer Versus Serve" option to all sites, replacing the requirement that meals be provided as a unit with an alternative that allows children to decline food items they do not intend to eat. This option has been successfully used by schools to help reduce plate waste and food costs in the school meals programs, and it has been available to school food authority sponsors operating SFSP.
Simplify requirements to conduct site visits during the first week of meal service operations for sites in good standing. This change relieves sponsors of the requirement to visit sites that have already demonstrated success in the program, so that they can target their resources to new sites and those that need additional oversight.