Schools will see a boost of $943 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help purchase American-grown foods for their meal programs, according to the federal agency’s announcement last week.
The investment follows President Joe Biden’s recent signing of the Keep Kids Fed Act, which extends some pandemic-era school meal waivers to address ongoing supply chain woes and rising food costs. However, schools will not be able to continue serving free meals to all students regardless of income starting this fall. That pandemic-era waiver expired Thursday, and was not included in the Keep Kids Fed Act.
The extra $943 million provided through the Commodity Credit Corporation is another way to help schools take those issues head-on, the USDA announcement said. State agencies will distribute the funds to schools so they can buy domestically grown foods to use in school meal programs.
“On our end, this funding boost is yet another step the administration is taking to ensure every child who needs a meal, gets one,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “No matter the circumstances, USDA and all our partners must continue collaborating to provide our young ones with the healthy meals they count on.”