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USDA extends pandemic-era food support through June 2023

Two people wearing masks sort and pack canned goods.
Crixell Matthews
The Virginia Department of Health administers the Child and Adult Food Care Program, which attempts to ensure that all in-need children and adults have access to nutritious meals and snacks. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

The United States Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it’s extending pandemic-era support for the Child and Adult Food Care Program through June 30, 2023. 

The program, which is administered at the state level by the Virginia Department of Health, attempts to ensure that all in-need children and adults have access to nutritious meals and snacks. 

Rather than directly providing food, the program grants waivers to child and adult care centers that support under-resourced community members. The waivers reimburse centers for expenses related to feeding at-risk individuals as a part of the program. 

Participating organizations include children’s day care centers and schools, but can also include retirement homes and other adult-care providers. 

Each year, school breakfast and lunch programs provide about 150 million meals to children in Virginia. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA has continued to support the program by providing its state-level partners with additional funding. This additional funding was implemented to guarantee food assistance services could continue to operate, even under difficult financial circumstances. 

Beyond additional funding, the USDA’s COVID-19 assistance waivers include important updates to partner organization’s filing process for CACFP waivers. These changes require participating organizations to document any changes to their food services that resulted from the pandemic or its related supply-chain disruptions, according to a VDH press release

According to Paula Garret, of VDH, examples of programs that are supported by these waivers include school breakfast and lunch programs, and their summertime extensions, as well as meals at Friendship Cafés that service retirement communities. 

More information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program, as well as other services, can be found here