Skip to main content

USDA Makes It Easier, Safer to Feed Children in California Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2020 -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a request from California to allow meal service during school closures to minimize potential exposure to the coronavirus. These meals are available at no cost to low-income children – and are not required to be served in a group setting – to ensure kids receive nutritious meals while schools are temporarily closed.

“USDA stands with the people of California as a part of a federal-wide coordinated response,” said Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “The flexibility provided by the waiver approved today will help ensure that our children get wholesome meals, safeguarding their health during times of need.”

The waiver announced today is effective immediately and will continue through June 30, 2020. USDA stands ready to provide additional assistance to the people of California and other areas impacted by the coronavirus as allowed by law and in coordination with the much larger government-wide response.

All Food and Nutrition Service programs – including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs – have flexibilities and contingencies built-in to allow them to respond to on-the-ground realities in the event of a disaster or emergency situation. For more information about the coronavirus response across USDA, please visit:

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15  nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.