The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced it would extend the summer meals flexibility waiver, allowing Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) to continue to serve free meals to all children through December 31, 2020.
The waiver of eligibility rules for children under 18 is particularly important to high-need communities like Miami-Dade County.
M-DCPS already provides free breakfast to all students, but this federal waiver will allow schools to serve free breakfast and lunch to all children into the fall months, no matter the socio-economic status of their families. This will help ensure all children have access to nutritious food during this difficult time in the community.
M-DCPS will be distributing meals for children at all school sites. Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch pick-ups take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The USDA requires that parents/adults provide proof of valid identification that the meal is for a child 18 years old or younger if the child is not with them. Identification can include a student ID, report card or progress report. These are the same guidelines that were followed during M-DCPS’ summer meal distributions.
Food insecurity is a reality in our community. Many families rely on school-provided meals as one of the only consistent sources of healthy food for their children. M-DCPS has not wavered in its commitment to support students and families, providing nearly seven million free meals since the closure of schools in March.
The USDA announcement is a significant and positive development. M-DCPS’ Department of Food and Nutrition continues to work closely with the State to ensure all program accountability measures are followed.