WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2017 – Some of Oregon’s neediest children will be able to enjoy uninterrupted meal service in the midst of wildfires thanks to a demonstration project approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
FNS has approved the State of Oregon’s request to operate meal service through a Summer Food Service Program demonstration project that allows them to take meals home with them. FNS offers the option for summer meal sponsors to operate this program during the school year when there are unexpected school closures. In Oregon, due to current conditions, it is expected that a number of schools will not be in session. Under this demo, children will be able to take home individually sealed meals served through the program rather than having to eat them on site. FNS is allowing the State to use this demo in specific impacted areas on days where there are air quality alerts from the National Weather Service. The approval is effective through October 16.
“USDA strives to ensure all Americans have access to food, especially in times of crisis,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “This Summer Food Service Program demo offers the agility to provide meals to children – away from sites – under extraordinary circumstances, including extreme weather situations.”
Oregon is experiencing a state of emergency due to 25 wildfires of varying size and containment. The wildfires and resulting poor air quality due to smoke has impacted National School Lunch Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program and the summer meals service in surrounding and downwind areas. Advisories recommend that residents remain indoors and limit time spent outdoors due to excessive smoke, which makes the air unhealthy, and at times hazardous, for sensitive groups, particularly children.
“USDA applauds the efforts of both the State of Oregon and our summer meals sponsors,” added Perdue. “Thanks to their concerted efforts, Oregon’s most vulnerable children continue to receive nutritious meals when they are not in school.”
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, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which together comprise America's nutrition safety net. For more information on FNS assistance during times of disaster, visit www.fns.usda.gov/disaster.
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