Since 1946, the National School Lunch Program has provided nutritionally balanced, low-cost or no-cost lunches in schools to improve the health and wellbeing of America’s children. Research shows school meals may be the healthiest food children receive in a day, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of a comprehensive effort to support school meal programs facing challenges during the pandemic, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $1.5 billion in assistance in September 2021. For the entire 2021-2022 school year, USDA is allowing schools to leverage the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to serve nutritious meals to millions of children at no cost.
“This National School Lunch Week, we recognize the importance of school meals to children’s ability to learn and grow, and we honor the hard work and dedication of the school nutrition professionals that make those meals possible, no matter the circumstances,” Vilsack said. “Students’ success in the classroom depends on their ability to access healthy and nutritious meals, which is why USDA is committed to working hand-in-hand with state and local partners to ensure they have the support they need to best serve the children in their care.”
This month, USDA is also joining in the celebration of Farm to School Month, which recognizes efforts to bring local foods into schools.
October is National Farm to School Month, and National School Lunch Week is being celebrated this year from October 11 through October 15.To learn more, visit www.USDA.com.