USDA’s goal across all summer nutrition programs is simple: Connect children with nutritious food during the summer months to help them grow and thrive. The interim final rule published Dec. 29, 2023 is an important step forward in increasing access to these services.
Summer nutrition programs are vital in the fight against child hunger, and the interim final rule reinforces their structure and administration, providing:
- New Strategies: Two innovative approaches supplement our in-person summer meal sites.
- Direction: The rule provides a how-to for implementing these new options.
- Flexibility: States and sponsors have more choices to offer summer nutrition support in ways that best meet the needs of their communities.
- Rural Communities - Summer meal operators can offer grab-n-go or delivery meals when and where in-person meal service is not available.
- Summer EBT - States, territories, and certain tribal nations can help families buy food during the summer months via grocery benefits for eligible school-aged children.
- Coordinated Services Plan - By 2025, states must develop and submit a cross-agency coordination plan to promote a cohesive summer experience for families.
- Summer Meal Site Data Reporting - States must report summer meal site data to FNS on a regular basis, enhancing accuracy of the meal locator tool.
FNS will continue to assist states, territories, and eligible tribes in implementing these new options in 2024 and beyond.