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Implementation Guidance: Summer 2023 Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas

FNS Document #
SFSP 01-2023, SP 05-2023
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (357.21 KB)
DATE: Feb. 28, 2023
MEMO CODE: SFSP 01-2023, SP 05-2023
SUBJECT: Implementation Guidance: Summer 2023 Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas - Revised
TO: Regional Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

On Dec. 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (the Act) (PL 117-328). The Act included significant policy changes for Child Nutrition programming, including the authorization of a permanent, non-congregate meal service through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO) for rural areas with no congregate meal service and the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Program (Section 502 of the Act). The non-congregate model for rural areas is available in summer 2023 and Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children Program will be available in summer 2024. The Act requires FNS to promulgate regulations to carry out these two changes. Regulations for these policy changes will be promulgated in advance of summer 2024.

This memorandum provides guidance that serves as the instructions for state agencies and program operators on how to implement SFSP and SSO rural non-congregate meal service during summer 2023. FNS will issue additional guidance on oversight and monitoring specifically pertaining to non-congregate operations in a follow up memorandum. All standard requirements are still applicable unless otherwise specified. State agencies and program operators should be advised that the following guidance for implementing non-congregate meal service in summer 2023 may not be the same as the regulatory requirements that will be codified for summer 2024 and beyond.

FNS appreciates the exceptional efforts of state agencies and local program operators working to meet the nutritional needs of participants during the summer months. SFSP and SSO rely on innovative and collaborative efforts to provide summer meals to children in need. We look forward to working with our program partners and other stakeholders on the administration and operation of the non-congregate meal service for rural communities during summer 2023.

State agencies are reminded to distribute this memorandum to program operators immediately. Program operators should direct any questions concerning this guidance to their state agency. State agencies with questions should contact the appropriate FNS regional office.

J. Kevin Maskornick
Community Meals Policy Division



Updated: 03/09/2023