Puerto Rican Children to Receive Free School Meals

Release #: 
FNS 0007.17
MARO Public Affairs (609) 259-5132

ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. October 27, 2017 – Children in Puerto Rico will receive free school meals in an effort to provide further relief to those affected by Hurricane Maria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced. The measure will potentially affect more than 1,550 schools and 450,000 children.   

“Ensuring children receive meals throughout this difficult time continues to be a main priority for the Food and Nutrition Service,” said USDA FNS Regional Administrator Pat Dombroski. “Many Puerto Rican families are still recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Maria. These sensible and timely flexibilities will ensure children receive the assistance they need.” 

All students will receive free meals through the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP), as will participants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), effective Oct. 23 through Dec. 31.

The USDA flexibilities are the latest in an ongoing series of USDA actions taken to help Puerto Rico residents cope with the storm and its aftermath. Also previously approved was a waiver that allows schools and CACFP operators in affected areas to serve meals that do not meet the menu planning or meal pattern requirements through Dec. 31. This was completed to ease challenges of preparing specific foods during disaster recovery.

For more information on FNS assistance during times of disaster, visit www.fns.usda.gov/disaster.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, WIC, and SNAP, which together comprise America’s nutrition safety net. For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov




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