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Office of P-20 Education Policy
Child Nutrition Program Administration
89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-8781 Fax: (518) 473-0018

Summer Food Service Program Operators
Child Nutrition Program Administration
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
2024 Summer Food Service Program Non-Congregate Meal Services

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (P.L. 117-328) amended section 13 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, 42 USC 1761, to include the authorization of a permanent, rural non-congregate meal service through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). On December 29, 2023, the interim final rule, Establishing the Summer EBT Program and Rural Non-congregate Option in the Summer Meal Programs(link is external), codified the permanent rural non-congregate summer meal service for the SFSP. While non-congregate summer meal service for rural areas was initially implemented through guidance during summer 2023, that guidance is superseded by the interim final rule. 

Requirements for Non-Congregate Meal Service

Sponsor Requirements: Only sponsors that are in “good standing” may be approved to operate a non-congregate meal service. A sponsor is considered in “good standing” if it meets Program responsibilities, is current with its financial obligations, and, if applicable, has fully implemented all corrective actions within the required period of time.

Site Requirements: Only sites designated as "rural" on the Rural Designation Mapper where children have no access to congregate meals may serve non-congregate meals.  Every Meal Pick-Up location is its own site. For Home Delivered meals, the address where the meals originate is the site address, but the entire delivery route must be rural.

Eligible Site Types: Refer to the Summer Food Service Program Site Eligibility & Meal Chart for eligibility requirements.

 Note: ‘Site’ means the place where a child receives a program meal. A site may be the indoor or outdoor location where congregate meals are served, a stop on a delivery route of a mobile congregate meal service, or the distribution location or route for a non-congregate meal service.


Meal Packaging Options

Distribution Methods

  1. Daily Unitized Meals
  2. Multi-Day Unitized Meals

(max 10 days of meals)

       3. Multi-Day Bulk Meals

(max 5 days of meals)

  1. Meal Pick-Up
  • Parent/Guardian Pick-Up
  • Child Pick-Up
  1. Home Delivery


         Requirements for Distributing Non-Congregate Meals

All Distribution Methods

  • System to prevent duplication of meals
  • Enroll participants
  • Meals should involve minimal preparation (refer to FNS Guidance)
  • Menu and directions must be provided to households

Parent Guardian Pick-Up

  • System to ensure only parent/guardians are picking up meals

Home Delivery

  • The delivery route must be within a rural area
  • Obtain parent/guardian consent
  • Non-SFA’s must enter into a written agreement or MOU with SFA if receiving eligibility documentation
  • Submit Delivery Route to SED

Bulk Meals

  • Self-prep sponsor’s only
  • Maximum 5 days of meals
  • No OVS
  • Submit Menu Tool to SED


Offer versus Serve (OVS):

  • May only be implemented by school food authorities (SFAs) distributing daily unitized meals.
  • Sponsors must indicate how OVS will be implemented correctly.
  • All components must be offered, and any component may be declined.
  • Unallowable for meals to be offered with or without milk only.
  • Best practice is to implement a pre-order system.


Sponsors operating Non-Congregate and Congregate Meal Services at the same site:

SED may approve the application of a site which will provide both a congregate meal service and a non-congregate meal service, with the following restrictions to ensure the non-congregate meal service does not compete with or duplicate the congregate meal service:

  • The proposed site will only conduct a non-congregate meal service at times when the site is not providing a congregate meal service.
  • The sponsor has a system in place to prevent meal service overlap when providing a congregate and non-congregate meal service at the same site to ensure children are not receiving more than the daily maximum allowance of meals.
  • The sponsor must be able to demonstrate the meal services are for different groups of children.
  • ex: children in an enrichment program being served congregate breakfast and lunch and older children from the community are provided a daily or multi-day non-congregate breakfast and lunch.


  • If serving the same group of children, the meal service must be for different days of meals or different meal types.
  • ex: Monday-Friday serve a congregate breakfast and lunch but then send home non-congregate weekend meals.
  • ex: Congregate breakfast meal service, non-congregate lunch.


  • Sponsor’s serving both congregate and non-congregate meals at the same site must maintain separate daily meal count records for each meal service model, by meal type. Separate records should also be maintained for temperature logs.

Sponsors requesting to operate a non-congregate meal service will need to complete this Request to Operate a Non-Congregate Meal Service form and submit it to SED for approval. A new site information sheet must also be submitted for any new sites that did not operate in 2023. Please note, non-congregate meals served prior to SED approval are not eligible for reimbursement.


USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.