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Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas: Q&As #2

FNS Document #
SFSP 08-2024, SP 15-2024
Resource type
Policy Memos
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy memo (235.54 KB)
DATE:March 27, 2024
POLICY MEMO:SFSP 08-2024, SP 15-2024
SUBJECT:Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas: Questions and Answers #2
TO:Regional Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

This memorandum is the second set of questions and answers on the rural non-congregate summer meals option established through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (the Act) (PL 117-328), and codified through the interim final rulemaking (IFR), Implementing Provisions from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023: Establishing the Summer EBT Program and Rural Non-congregate Option in the Summer Meal Programs (88 FR 90230). The Act authorized permanent, non-congregate meal service through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program’s (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO) for rural areas with no congregate meal service.

The purpose of this memorandum is to address additional implementation topics based on feedback received by state agencies and program stakeholders. The first memorandum in this series, SFSP 07-2024, SP 13-2024, Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas Questions and Answers, Feb. 21, 2024, updates earlier guidance originally issued for Summer 2023 operations and ensures consistency with the provisions of the IFR. The following operational topics are addressed in this guidance:

  • Sponsor, site, and participant, eligibility;
  • Rural designations;
  • State agency approval of non-congregate meal service;
  • Conditional non-congregate sites;
  • Parent or guardian meal pick-up;
  • Meal service;
  • Monitoring;
  • Reporting;
  • Management and administration plans (MAP); and
  • General/miscellaneous.

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.

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

Jessica Saracino
Program Monitoring and Operational Support Division


Page updated: April 01, 2024