USDA to provide flexibility for families picking up meals for children

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) — The Iowa Department of Education received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will help families that need to pick up meals for their children during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the new guidelines from the USDA, children do not have to be present at the meal sites when caregivers pick up the meals.

“First and foremost, we want to ensure the health and safety of Iowa’s students,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “We want to get healthy meals into the hands of students while minimizing the potential exposure to COVID-19. We understand that it isn’t practical for all children to accompany their parents and caregivers at meal sites.”

Grab & Go meal sites are part of the USDA's Summer Food Service Program that was made available during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program aims at helping any aged 18 or younger get nutritious meals and snacks during school closures in low-income areas.