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Missouri Republicans extend food assistance to kids all summer

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has been helping families in need during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Through the Summer Food Service Program, hundreds of thousands of meals have been provided and will continue to be available all summer to children who need it. The extension was a priority of Republicans as the session ended.

The program is designed to provide breakfast, lunch and/or snacks to children living in eligible areas during the summer months and during times of public emergencies, when children do not have access to free or reduced-price meals at school.

When school is not in session, SFSP provides reimbursement to community agencies offering the meals. Eligible participants include children 0 through 18 years of age whose family incomes are less than or equal to 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; and to income-eligible adults over 18 years of age who have been determined by a state educational agency to have a disability and who participate in a school-based program for the disabled during the school year.

Community organizations serve the meals at schools, churches, parks, swimming pools, YMCA facilities, Boys and Girls Clubs and other locations where children gather when school is not in session. The meals are provided to all children who attend the meal service location. Children do not have to register, and there is no fee to participate in the program

“It is a comfort to many families knowing this program is available to their children,” said Robert Knodell, acting director of the department.

Meals will be served to children ages 18 and younger. They also are provided to individuals aged 18 to 21 who have been determined by a state or local educational agency to be mentally or physically disabled and who participate in an established school program for the mentally or physically disabled. Funding for the Summer Food Service Program is provided by the USDA.

More information about the Summer Food Service Program is available online at www.health.mo.gov/sfsp or by phone at (888) 435-1464. Community organizations that would like to become sponsors may email the Summer Food Service Program at sfsp@health.mo.gov or write to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Summer Food Service Program, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102, for more information.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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