Resources For Families

We’re continuing to connect Missouri children and families to food resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about child meal resources for families below:

NEW!  Pandemic-EBT
P-EBT is a one-time benefit for households with children who qualify for free or reduced-price meals at school.  This new program provides up to $302 per eligible child (pre-K to 12th grade) as reimbursement for the breakfasts and lunches served at home while schools were closed due to COVID-19.

How to Access P-EBT:

    • If your family was enrolled in SNAP/Food Stamps in March, $302 will be automatically uploaded to your EBT card for each eligible child.  No need to apply.
    • If your household was not enrolled in SNAP in March, but your child qualifies for free or reduced-price meals at school, you must submit an application before June 30, 2020.

Read the FAQs from the Department of Social Services (DSS) for more information about P-EBT.

Free Meals for Kids
Kids through the age of 18 may receive free meals at various locations around St. Louis while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 emergency. To find a meal site closest to you, check out our Child Meals Map.

Drive-Thru Food Pick-up for Kids
Operation Food Search is partnering with the St. Louis County Library to provide free, pre-packaged meals for children ages 18 and under at select library locations. Meals will be distributed in the branch parking lots on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10AM-12PM. To find locations, check out the flyer!

Resources For Schools

Schools may utilize the Summer Seamless Option (SSO) or Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to serve meals to students during an unexpected school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To use this option, the school food authority or community organization must have an approved SSO or SFSP program agreement and application on file with the state.

Program Operations Overview

Program Sponsors

SSO: School Food Authorities
SFSP: Schools, community organizations, faith-based organizations, local government agencies

Meal Cost to Children

SSO: All meals are served at no cost to any child ages 18 and younger
SFSP: All meals are served at no cost to any child ages 18 and younger

Site Eligibility

SSO: An open site must be located in an area where 50% or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals.
SFSP: Typically, an open site must be located in an area where 50% or more of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. However, Missouri received a waiver to remove this restriction during the COVID-19 emergency in targeted areas experiencing economic hardship.

Type of Meals

SSO: Breakfast, Lunch, Snack
SFSP: Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, Supper

Meal Pattern Requirements

SSO: Meals must meet regular menu planning requirements for NSLP and SBP.
SFSP: The meals must meet the regular menu planning requirements for SFSP

Maximum Number of Meals

SSO: 2 meals per day.
May send a weeks’ worth of food home with a child at one time (e.g. up to 10 meals).
SFSP: 2 meals per day.
May send a weeks’ worth of food home with a child at one time (e.g. up to 10 meals).
*NOTE: Cannot serve lunch and supper on the same day

Meal Delivery Methods

SSO: It is recommended that Grab & Go style meal delivery is used to encourage social distancing practices. Meals may be delivered via bus routes, drive-throughs/pick-up lines.
SFSP: It is recommended that Grab & Go style meal delivery is used to encourage social distancing practices. Meals may be delivered via bus routes, drive-throughs/pick-up lines.

Application Process

SSO: Sites with approved agreements to operate SSO in the prior two calendar years do not need to go through the approval process again but should complete the online form for SSO Schools.
SFSP: Sites with a current SFSP contract should complete the SFSP Application Addendum for Unanticipated School Closures and email to tanya.harvey@health.mo.gov

Table of COVID-19 Waivers

SSO/SFSP:  The USDA has granted the state waivers to allow more program flexibilities to protect the health and safety of children in Missouri. See the Child Nutrition Waivers Chart for a summary of program flexibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact Information

SSO:
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Food & Nutrition Services
573-751-3526
SFSP:
Department of Health and Senior Services
Community Food & Nutrition Assistance
888-435-1464

Resources for Safe Meal Distribution:

Poster on COVID19 Best Practices: During the pandemic, school nutrition staff should continue to follow all existing food safety policies and SOPs, while taking additional precautions to keep staff members healthy and safe. Tip: Always check with state and local health departments for latest guidelines. Click here for the printable poster.

ServSafe Free Training: ServSafe has developed two FREE on-demand training videos to assist operators in training their staff in appropriate hygiene and sanitation practices  to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19. Click here for more information.

USDA: Downloadable handout with information, tips, and best practices to consider when allowing local program operators to distribute meals and snacks to parents and guardians for the children or adults in their care. Click here for more information.

Training Videos: Austin ISD released two quick videos to showcase procedures to safely and efficiently serve meals to the community via curb side and bus stop delivery. Click here for curbside and here for bus stop.

Resource Pages: For SNA member resources on coronavirus disease, click here. For free tools, checklists, guides, templates, and more from LunchAssist, click here.

Child Meal Questions & Answers

How does a school or community organization apply to serve meals through SSO or SFSP during COVID-19 related school closures?

Schools that have participated in a summer food program any time during the current year or in the prior two calendar years do not need to reapply to provide meals during unanticipated school closures due to COVID-19.

Summer Seamless Option:

  • Existing SSO schools should complete DESE’s online form for SSO Schools and then can start serving meals.
  • Schools who are new to SSO need to apply should contact DESE at 573-751-3526.

Summer Food Service Program:

  • Sites with a current SFSP contract should complete the SFSP Application Addendum for Unanticipated School Closures and email to harvey@health.mo.gov.
  • New sites to SFSP must complete the application process, SFSP Site Information Sheet.

How many meals may be provided to kids at one time?

As usual, sites may provide up to two meals per day in any combination (breakfast, lunch, snack, supper) except lunch and supper.

However, to support social distancing, sites may now send home a weeks’ worth of food to students (e.g. 5-10 meals at one time).

If a child is sick, do they still have to be present in order to provide them a meal?

When a child is sick, meals can be distributed to parents or family members.

Where can I find a list of child meal sites in my community?

Check out the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Emergency Child Meal Map. Click “Find a Site Near Me” to search for the locations nearest you.

If you’re located in the St. Louis Region, Operation Food Search is updating our Child Meal Map regularly with locations where kids can pick-up a free, healthy meal.  View our map at Meals.OperationFoodSearch.org.

Last Updated: May 29, 2020