As schools close, USDA vows to deliver boxes of food to some students in rural America

The Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it will be delivering boxes of food to children affected by school closures due to the novel coronavirus in rural America. In partnership with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, McLane Global, and PepsiCo, the USDA says it will eventually deliver 1 million meals per week.

According to Baylor University, deliveries will begin in approximately two weeks. School districts must apply and be approved for the program before families can apply to receive meal boxes. The boxes will “prioritize students who do not currently have access to a Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) site and have an active outbreak of COVID-19,” according to the USDA’s announcement. The agency says each box will contain five days of shelf-stable foods that meet the USDA’s summer food requirements.

The delivery service is modeled after a pilot program the agency ran in Texas in 2019 called Meals-to-You. A sample menu for that program included fruit punch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, Chocolate Bear Grahams, and spaghetti rings.

PepsiCo has committed $1 million to the effort. More details on the program can be found here.