USDA Recognizes Issue with Students Missing Meals on Snow Days

A USDA-provided lunch in Arlington, Va. (Photo: USDA on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/41284017@N08/6276690879/)
A USDA-provided lunch in Arlington, Va. (Photo: USDA on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/41284017@N08/6276690879/)
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The tough winter weather forced hundreds of schools to close several times in January and February. Some schools racked up more than 15 snow days. This left thousands of students, who usually depend on free and reduced-price meals from their schools, to find food elsewhere.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a rule that prohibits USDA funded meals from being delivered off of school grounds. Hunger advocates have said lifting this rule could help get food to these kids during snow days.

Kevin Concannon is the USDA Under Secretary of Food and Nutrition Service. He says the department is working on possibly addressing the issue but so far there’s no clear solution.

“I know that’s been brought to our attention by school superintendents, by principals and others (who) say they struggle with a decision to cancel school, weatherwise, when they know that it means that kids, among other impacts, may not have access to healthy food that day," Concannon said.

Concannon notes that there have been waivers created in the past that allow states to move these meals off-site in the event of extreme heat.

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