USDA Released Implementation Guidance for Non-Congregate Meal Service in Rural Areas

March 02, 2023

On March 1, USDA released implementation guidance for a permanent, non-congregate meal service through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO) for rural areas with no congregate meal service. This change was made by Congress in the FY23 omnibus package and will be available for rural areas starting in summer 2023.

This memo provides guidance that serves as the instructions for state agencies and program operators on how to implement SFSP and SSO rural non-congregate meal service during summer 2023. FNS will issue additional guidance on oversight and monitoring specifically pertaining to non-congregate operations in a follow up memorandum.

States remain responsible for designating rural areas—see the rural designation map here