A message has been going around saying that the Lakewood School District will continue to distribute food boxes during the 2021- 2022 school year.
Specifically, the message says that the Lakewood School District is currently providing meals under the Summer Food Service Programs, and the district will switch to the Seamless Summer Option for the new school year.
Previously, in June, LNN reported that free food boxes would end when school restarts in the fall.
In response to many inquiries from followers regarding this message now going around that claims that food boxes will still continue in the fall, LNN once again reached out to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which provides funding for school lunches and food boxes.
The USDA reiterated to LNN that food boxes will not continue once the school year begins.
Chris Kelly, a spokesperson from USDA’s Mid-Atlantic Region Office released the following statement to LNN, “schools cannot operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) after the regular school year begins, but may choose to participate in Seamless Summer Option (SSO) in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs when schools reopen for SY 2021-2022. The main purpose of the SFSP is to provide food service to children when schools are closed (7 CFR 225.1). Because FNS did not issue a waiver allowing SFSP to operate when schools are open during the regular school year in SY 2021-2022, SFSP operations must end when schools reopen for the new school year.
“Consistent with supporting a transition back to more traditional school year operations, school food authorities may not provide weekend or holiday meals through the SSO when school is in session during the regular school year in SY 2021-2022. However, SSO weekend meals will remain available during unanticipated school closures. Furthermore, weekend or holiday meals may be provided through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program, which is more widely available in SY 2021-2022 due to the area eligibility waiver (Nationwide Waiver #93).”